WarnerMedia OneFifty acquires Oscar-nominated short film ‘Please Hold’ for HBO Max

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WarnerMedia OneFifty have acquired Please Hold, a sci-fi short film that is an Oscar-nominee this season, to stream exclusively on HBO Max, where it will launch on 17 March. It is directed by KD Dávila, who also wrote the film along with Levin Menekse.

Set five minutes into the future, Please Hold is a sci-fi dark comedy that follows Mateo Torres (played by Erick Lopez), a young man who is erroneously arrested by a police drone. Mateo finds himself trapped in a fully automated jail, where he must fight his way through the Kafkaesque labyrinth of a privatized justice system to find a human being who can set things right.

“The idea for the film came to us after I read this article about a Latino man who got arrested and jailed by mistake because he had a common Spanish name. He was unable to convince anyone that they had the wrong guy. Even his public defender didn’t believe him. It’s not unusual for people of color to fall through cracks in the justice system, and we wanted to look at this all-too-common story through a sci-fi and dark comedy lens. Please Hold explore what it means for people of color when the remaining human element in our justice system slowly gives way to automation and privatization,” filmmaker KD Dávila said.

“This film exemplifies what WarnerMedia OneFifty is all about: It is a powerful, unique, and bold vision from a talented creative team and an innovative filmmaker that perfectly juxtaposes art, science and culture,” WarnerMedia OneFifty head and artistic and cultural innovations VP Axel Caballero said.

Please Hold was produced by Entertainment 360’s Marc Mounier, along with Diego Najera, and writer Levin Menekse, in association with the Australian VFX firm Last Pixel. Negotiations for Please Hold were finalized by HBO Max content acquisitions director Amanda Trokan .

KD Dávila also wrote the feature film Emergency which premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. The film earned Dávila a Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, the festival’s highest award for screenwriting. 

KD Dávila is represented by Management 360 and WME. Levin Menekse is represented by Lit Entertainment and Verve. Both are represented by attorney Stephen Clark. WME and Management 360 brokered the sale to WarnerMedia OneFifty for HBO Max. Joshua Jason Public Relations /JJPR oversees awards publicity for the film.