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Fien Troch • Director

Someone Else's Happiness


- The freedom of creating

Fien Troch • Director

Someone Else's Happiness [+see also:
film profile
is the first feature film from the 27-year-old Flemish woman who has been spotted at several festivals especially at Thessaloniki, where the film won two of the most important awards (read news). The film was in competition with eight other first films at the Premiers Plans festival in Angers, which is where we met up with Fien Troch before she left for Rotterdam to take part in EFP's "Passions and Promises".

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Cineuropa: You studied cinema in Brussels at the Sint Lukas Film University. Why did you decide to study cinema?
Fien Troch: My father is the editor Ludo Troch, so from a young age I was immersed in cinema. I had the time to find out if it's what I wanted to do. But I always wanted to be an actress. Little girls dream of being a singer, an actress or a princess (laughs). When I was eight, I sat an entry exam for a school of performing arts, but I didn't pass. My parents advised me to go to a school of cinema to find out what I really wanted to do. And in my second year it was very clear to me that I enjoyed making films.

Does directing go hand in hand with writing for you?
For the time being, yes. It's really about my ideas and when I write, I already have an image of the actors and the set in my mind. For me a screenplay is not something different to a film, it's the first stage. But the day may come where I no longer know what to write! My first professional short (Cool Sam and Sweet Suzie - 2001) was an immediate hit at festivals and I won awards for it. I made my first three shorts while at school—(Verbrande Aarde - 1998, Wooww - 1999, Maria - 2000). What others normally do during their studies, I did after graduation. Everything went very quickly. Perhaps I don't give myself enough time to think?

Your film centres around themes often dealt with in northern European cinema, such as lonliness and the absence of communication between characters. Bergman comes to mind right away...
I can't say that Bergman has had a direct influence on my work. Others have said that it has, they've said the same about Atom Egoyan. I think that I draw inspiration from everywhere, which I keep in my mind subconsciously. Then we write, and everything that we have seen, read, felt comes out. It has to come from somewhere (laughs)! I especially wanted to tell stories that deal with loneliness and absence of communication with the idea of making a choral film. I also wanted to film what I call "non moments", which reveal more than moments where things happen.

Was this film difficult to produce?
Antonio Lombardo had produced my first short and I suggested this screenplay to him. He agreed with me right away. Writing took me time. Finding actors did too because it is already difficult to find three or four actors that match some characters perfectly, but when we have to find ten, that takes a lot of time. Moreover, it took me two years to find my set, because there aren't many studios like this in Flanders.

Do you have any plans at the moment?
I am in the middle of writing a story about a couple whose daughter has run away and for no reason turns up four or five years later. I feel that it's the same melancholy or sadness as in the film, but more direct because we understand why the parents are distressed. Someone else's happiness is more abstract. This film will be easier.

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