Lily Freeston

Fulbright-BAFTA Postgraduate Scholarship, Northwestern University - Film Directing

Lily was privileged to grow up in a vibrant patch of Manchester, surrounded by people with different backgrounds, cultures and life experiences to her own. Where she is from informs the documentaries she makes, which hear from people whose stories often go unheard in mainstream media. After graduating, Lily trained as a youth-worker, supporting young people to run social justice projects in their communities, before becoming a current affairs journalist at the BBC. She has reported on and produced films, radio documentaries and podcasts internationally – looking at low conviction rates for rape and finding out how fatherhood classes reduce violence. A film she co-directed about child marriage screened at a UN summit, and her documentary about female sexual pleasure was reviewed positively by media outlets such as The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph. Lily will be studying documentary filmmaking in Chicago, a city whose history of community organising makes this move the perfect fit for her. Lily’s ambition is to direct films that challenge perceptions and help people to better understand the world we live in. The turbulent, divisive climate we are in makes now an important time to do this.