Screenwriter and film and television director, Holland was born in 1948 in Warsaw. She studied in Prague, where she was arrested during the Prague Spring in 1968 for her political activism against the communist regime. In 1971 she returned to Poland; however, she kept coming into conflict with the Communist authorities due to her political views. Despite this and thanks to assistance from esteemed Polish colleagues, such as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, and Krzysztof Kieślowski, Holland succeeded in creating, in Poland, films which were recognized at Cannes and Berlin. Shortly before the imposition of martial law, she left Poland again, this time for Paris.
In 1985 she completed the film “Angry Harvest”, which was nominated for an academy award. In 1991 she finished the film “Europa Europa” which was named best foreign film by the National Board of Review, several Film Critics circles and won the Golden Globe. Moreover, it was nominated for an academy award, Holland’s second nomination. Her third Oscar nomination was for “In darkness” in 2012. She is very active in advocating LGBTQ+ rights in Poland and beyond, and several of her films had LGBTQ+ subjects; one of them, Girl like me, Gwen Araujo story won in 2007 the GLAAD Media Award. In 2020 Holland was elected the President of the European Film Academy.