Holly, Fien Troch’s fifth feature, is the official opening film of the 50th anniversary edition of Film Fest Gent and will kick off the festival on Tuesday 10 October. The film is an intriguing portrait of a 15-year-old girl named Holly. After she seems to have predicted a deadly school fire, people begin to seek out Holly for consolation. Troch’s latest is also a part of the Official Competition of the Venice Film Festival.
Seven years after winning the Audience Award and the Georges Delerue Award for Best Music with the internationally acclaimed Home, director Fien Troch returns to Film Fest Gent. Her new feature film will open the 50th edition of the festival. Highlighting the ever-growing reputation of Belgian cinema, FFG has opted for a Belgian opening film for a third year in a row. La Civil and Close opened their respective editions in 2021 and 2022.
“As Film Fest Gent, we are grateful to once again be able to open our festival with a unique film that is certain to gain international acclaim. The choice for ‘Holly’ as the opening film for our anniversary edition is a logical continuation of Fien Troch’s wonderful track record in Ghent. From the selection of two of her first short films, her feature debut ‘Someone Else’s Happiness’ and follow-ups ‘Unspoken’ and ‘Kid’, to the award-winning competition film ‘Home’, Fien Troch has travelled a fine path at FFG with her work. The fact that a talent like Fien will open our 50th edition is the greatest gift we could give each other.” – Wim De Witte Programme, Director Film Fest Gent
With Holly, Fien Troch proves again she has a unique voice in Belgium’s film industry. Home earned her the award for best director in the Orrizonti section in Venice and in September, Holly is competing for the Golden Lion at the Lido. In her trademark intuitive, sensitive style, Fien Troch tells a fascinating story about a 15-year-old girl who finds herself in a maelstrom when she seems to have predicted a deadly school fire. Suddenly all eyes are on her and a broken community tries to find solace and hope in her.
First-time actress Cathalina Geeraerts carries the weight of the titular character on her shoulders and is joined by Felix Heremans and Greet Verstraete, among others. Troch turned towards frequent collaborators Frank van den Eeden (photography: Close, Home) and Nico Leunen (editing: The Eight Mountains, Home) for her fifth feature. Johnny Jewel (Drive, Lost River, Home), the man behind the record label Italians do it better and the band Desire, has written the intriguing and atmospheric score for the film.
“Being selected for the Official Competition in Venice was already fantastic news, but to then also have the honour of kicking off Film Fest Gent with ‘Holly’ is just incredible. The festival has always warmly welcomed me and my crew with my previous films and I am extremely happy that we have the opportunity to open the 50th anniversary edition. You can be sure we are going to throw a big, big party!” – Fien Troch, Director
Holly is a production by Antonino Lombardo for Prime Time and Elisa Heene for Mirage, in co-production with Les Films du Fleuve, Tarantula, Topkapi, Tabiki and Agat Films.
Distributor Cinéart will release Holly in Belgian theatres on 22 November 2023.