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After several acclaimed shorts, Katrine Brocks’ feature film debut “The Great Silence” (“Den Store Stilhed”) is set to premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival in competition at the New Directors strand.

The film follows Alma who is about to take her vows as a nun in a Catholic convent, when her estranged brother Erik arrives. His presence unearths a tragedy from their past and with the ceremony approaching, Alma is increasingly haunted by resurfacing trauma.

The cast includes Kristine Kujath Thorp (“Ninjababy”), Elliott Crosset Hove (“Godland”) and Karen-Lise Mynster (“C4”).

The film’s central themes stem from Brocks’ upbringing in a Christian community, where Jesus was the ultimate role model.

“With ‘The Great Silence’ I want to explore the existential struggle between the flawed and the flawless, the saint and the sinner and the basic human instinct to hide our ugliest, darkest sides away. Clinging to the light in order to not look at our own darkness – searching for a higher truth while not being able to face the truth of who we are and stand by the things we have done wrong,” Brocks says in her director’s notes on the film.

“The idea of setting the story in a monastery stems from the fact that I witnessed a family friend taking her perpetual vows in a monastic order in France. It made me wonder if she has struggled with giving up all the things that normally form the cornerstones of a modern secular existence: family life, career, personal possessions, sex and worldly love. How can a modern person experience a spiritual love that transcends all that? What makes a person choose such a strikingly different life? These questions have stayed with me throughout working with the film,” Brocks adds.

The film is written by Marianne Lentz and Brocks and produced by Pernille Tornøe of Copenhagen-based Monolit Film. It is supported by the Danish Film Institute / New Danish Screen. Nordic distribution is handled by Scanbox Entertainment. International sales are handled by TrustNordisk. The 70th San Sebastian Film Festival runs Sept. 16-24.

Watch the trailer here: