HOLDOUT is based off the true story of a Japanese WWII Lieutenant who got left behind on an island in South East Asia after the war. He never got the memo that the war ended so he kept on fighting and only surrendered in the 1970s, nearly 30 years after the war ended.

Our film is a gritty, dark dramatization of another soldier who didn’t surrender when he encounters an American tourist from the modern world. It is also a character study on how people are neither good nor bad, but sometimes perpetrate evil because it is sometimes so ingrained in their way of life that they can’t bear to lose the sense of purpose it gives them.

Director’s Statement

When I heard about the story of Hiro Onoda, the last Japanese holdout from World War 2 (who only surrendered 30 years after the war), I wondered what would drive someone to do that? It puzzled me for ages until I came up with a single hypothesis: The war had become so inseparable from his psyche that admitting it was lost would mean he would lose all sense of self, identity and purpose. It was easier to continue even if he knew he was wrong deep down inside. I thus decided to make HOLDOUT a cautionary tale of what happens when we get so caught up in a particular mission or cause that we lose sight of not only who we are, but our core values and beliefs in the process too. Shot on location in Hawaii over a weekend with the generous support of the talented Hawaiian film community, we braved inclement weather, almost constant rain, leech-infested mud, and a concussion from one of our crew members to make this film a reality. Thank you for watching!