Drop! Cover! Hold on!

Stéphanie Roland


Genre: Documentary
Length: 90’
Project status: Development
Budget : 134 808 €
Acquired budget: 67 750 €
Funds : SCAM, CBA, CCA, Gsara, Tënk
Shooting country: USA

First Feature Film

The Big One.
The ultimate earthquake.
A silent, endless state of emergency.
Fault lines eluding us.
They build their lives, their fictions,
their dreams and their prophecies along it.
They observe it; they fear it, and then they forget it. They fall asleep on it every night.
When will it awaken them?
Drop! Cover! Hold on! is a multi-layered story about the San Andreas Fault, a geological phenomenon very close to the Hollywood film studios. The overlapping storylines reflect the geological layers of these mythical landscapes. The film becomes a mosaic of different stories that come together to paint a broader portrait of the concept of Fault, somewhere between reality and fiction, between reality and the virtual world, and between geography and emotions. All of a sudden, the boundary between fiction and documentary splits open, unveiling invisible terrestrial phenomena and human existential rifts in anticipation of an earthquake.

Note of intention

During location scouting, I traveled the length of San Andreas Fault. While signs of its presence were evident here and there, I never truly saw it; it eluded me like a black hole. Different types of images intersect to reflect a fragmented reality, a portrait of the invisible fault line and the humans who live with this ever-present threat beneath their feet. How do we create new narratives in the era of Post-truth?
In this story, reality and fiction act as two tectonic plates, generating friction and tremors. We carve out our own path along this road where borders are blurred and mirages can sometimes appear. Gradually, this fault line permeates the film’s formal aspects: shifts, desynchronizations, falls and tremors mark out the editing line.
I felt it was important to give minerals – non-human elements in essence – a voice in this project. After all, they have existed far longer than we have and surely hold a deeper understanding of seismic history, having experienced it at the very core of their being. Rocks are given a strong sonic presence, sometimes whispering, perhaps offering us clues about the impending arrival of the Big One?


Stéphanie Roland


• The empty sphere | 2022 | 19’
• Podesta Island | 2021 | 23’
• Deception Island | 2017 | 13’


Production : Dérives (Belgium)
Producer: Julie Freres

Coroduction : Sound Image Culture (Belgium)
Producer: Mary Jimenez

Coproduction : Centre de l’Audiovisuel à Bruxelles

Selective filmography

Chloé Galibert-Laîné

Dan Sallitt

Paula Rodríguez Polanco

Riar Rizaldi

Advik Beni & Nehal Vyas

Leonardo Mouramateus

Katsuya Tomita

Ra Di Martino