Fien Troch’s Venice-Bound ‘Holly’ Debuts Trailer, Director Says She Is a Bit Like the Protagonist: ‘I Absorb a Lot of the Sadness of the World’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Fien Troch’s “Holly,” which world premieres in competition at the Venice Film Festival, has debuted its trailer. MK2 is handling world sales. Troch’s previous film, “Home,” won the Horizons best director award at Venice.

“Holly” follows 15-year-old Holly, who 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.

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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 girl.

Troch admits that there is something of herself in Holly. “Yes, like her, I am very receptive to other people’s emotions,” she says. “Sometimes that’s a bit annoying, because when I enter a place, I immediately know who is sad, and then I almost feel obliged to talk to that person. I have to consciously arm myself against that, because I absorb a lot of the sadness of the world. On the other hand, it has always helped me with my films: it allows me to easily get into the mind of my characters.”

The cinematographer is Frank van den Eeden, who also shot Oscar nominee “Close.” Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne are among the co-producers, alongside Donato Rotunno, Delphine Tomson, Arnold Heslenfeld, Laurette Schillings, Frans van Gestel, Anita Voorham and Juliette Schrameck. The producers are Antonino Lombardo and Elisa Heene for Prime Time & Mirage.

“Holly” is Troch’s fifth feature. The Belgian director and screenwriter graduated from the Sint-Lukas in Brussels in 2000 and then started on her debut feature film “Someone Else’s Happiness,” a psychological drama that deals with how a fatal car accident affects a village in Flanders. The film was selected at Toronto Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival, and won several awards. It was also selected as the Oscar entry for Belgium that year.

Her second film “Unspoken,” starring Emmanuelle Devos and Bruno Todeschini, depicts the aftermath of the disappearance of a young girl and was developed in the Cinéfondation of Cannes in 2007.

Her third film, “Kid,” won the Eurimages Award for most promising project in Rotterdam and the students award at the Paris Intl. Film Festival, and was shot in 2012.

Her fourth feature was “Home,” which won the Horizons best director award at the Venice Film Festival in 2016. She served on the Horizons jury the following year.

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