HOLLY, Fien Troch’s fifth feature film, has been selected for the Official Competition of the 80th edition of the Venice International Film Festival (August 30th to September 9th 2023).
Belgian filmmaker Fien Troch is back at the Lido with her fifth feature HOLLY, produced by Prime Time and Mirage in coproduction with Dardenne brothers’ Les Film du Fleuve, Tarantula, Topkapi Films and Agat Films. This captivating exploration of the notion of faith tells the moving story of a girl whose cathartic energy seems to bring peace to the people she encounters. Trochs previous film HOME (2016) bowed at Venice’s Orizzonti competition, where she won the award for best direction.
The film follows 15-year-old Holly, she calls her school to say she is staying home for the day. Soon after, a fire breaks out at the school, killing several students. With everyone touched by the tragedy, the community comes together, trying to heal. Anna, a teacher, intrigued by Holly and her strange premonition, invites her to join the volunteering group she runs. Holly’s presence seems to bring peace of mind, warmth, and hope to those she encounters. But soon, people begin to seek out Holly and her cathartic energy, demanding more and more from the young girl.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to have the world premiere of HOLLY in Venice. I have a special bond with the festival and it’s the perfect start for the international festival of the film,’ Troch says. “Winning the Orizzonti award for Best Director with HOME in 2016 meant a lot. Being invited to the Official Competition 7 years later is a great honor and it confirms that there is still room for films like HOLLY.”
In HOLLY we are unmistakably in Fien Troch’s universe, where the human psyche and the absurdity of everyday life are subjected to an investigation with a necessary dose of humor and unnavigable fragility. The cast of the film consists of newcomers Cathalina Geeraerts and Felix Heremans as well as Greet Verstraete, Els Deceukelier, Serdi Faki Alici, Robbie Cleiren. Frank van den Eeden (CLOSE and HOME) is the Director of Photography, Nico Leunen (LE OTTO MONTAGNE and HOME) edited the film and Johnny Jewel (DRIVE and HOME) composed the score.
Fien Troch graduated in 2000 from the film department of Sint Lukas in Brussels, where she later returned as a teacher. Her feature debut SOMEONE ELSE’S HAPPINESS (2005) was chosen as the Official Belgian Oscar entry that year. Troch’s feature films UNSPOKEN (2008) and KID (2012) also received several prizes at various film festivals. For her previous film HOME (2016), Troch was awarded the Audience Prize at Film Fest Gent and the Director’s Award in Venice, where she served on the same jury of the Orizzonti competition the following year.
HOLLY is produced by Antonino Lombardo for Prime Time & Elisa Heene for Mirage in co-production with Les Films Du Fleuve, Tarantula, Topkapi Films and Agat Films. The film was supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) of Flemish Minister of Culture Jan Jambon, Centre du cinéma et de l’audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, the Netherlands Film Fund and the Netherlands Production Incentive, Luxembourg Film Fund, Creative Europe Media and was made possible by Casa Kafka through financing the Belgian Tax Shelter measure. Cinéart will release the film in the Benelux and mk2 films obtained the international rights of the film.