Hold Fast the movie

Douglas Sullivan (right), 12, and Avery Ash, 14, are shown on the set of Hold Fast in Bauline, N.L. (Paul Daly/Canadian Press)

The classic children's book Hold Fast by Kevin Major is headed to the big screen. A movie adaptation of the award-winning novel starring Molly Parker (Deadwood) and newcomer Avery Ash has begun filming in Bauline, N.L., the Canadian Press reports.

Ash plays the main character Michael, who, along with his little brother Brent, gets uprooted from his tight-knit Newfoundland community after his parents are killed in a car accident. The brothers are separated as Michael moves to a larger city to live with his Aunt Ellen, played by Parker, and his strict Uncle Ted, played by Newfoundland actor Aiden Flynn.

Michael develops a close friendship with his cousin Curtis (played by Douglas Sullivan), but struggles with his grief, bullying at school and accepting his new environment. He eventually flees into the woodlands with Curtis in tow in search of freedom and escape.

The novel was published nearly 35 years ago and has since been saluted as second only to Anne of Green Gables as the best Canadian children's book of all time, by Quill & Quire.
Actor Avery Ash said the book can still resonate with kids today.

holdfast-125.jpg"You definitely can learn from this book. Michael experiences being picked on by a big bully at school, and other children or kids can learn that it's not a good thing to do. It's another way to reach out about bullying."

Hold Fast, produced by Rock Island Productions and Markham Street Films with funding from Telefilm Canada and the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corp., is to be released to theatres in Canada and internationally next year.

-- With files from the Canadian Press