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UMB Film Series Screening ‘Lily’ Explores a World Between Fiction and Reality


Matt Creed featuring his film, “Lily,” at the UMass Boston Film Series on April 2.

At its fourth screening this year, the University of Massachusetts Boston Film Series dove into the genre of the dramatic narrative which was a contrast to all the documentaries that were shown previously.

In the movie, we follow Lily, a breast cancer survivor, as she is faced with her treatment coming to an end, and having to find her way back into a normal life. Over the course of her story, the audience gets to understand that former cancer patients often struggle to re-adjust to a post-treatment life and encounter the question, “now what?” As the protagonist describes her situation, “I don’t feel happy about it. I feel like treatment was kind of the easy part.”

New York-based writer and director Matt Creed points out that he saw his role in making the movie more as a silent observer,who would often let the scenes and dialogues develop themselves. “The way I make movies is intuitive,” he says. According to Creed, it was important to follow a certain kind of pacing to ease the viewers into Lily’s story. The movie is kept very simple and raw because Creed wanted it “to be as honest as it could possible be.” The script—around 60 pages—therefore acted as the bones for the scenes, as he shot around 200 hours of material. Creed also revealed that many of the scenes were completely spontaneous and not scripted, which gave the movie an even stronger sense of authenticity.

Amy Grantham, the lead actress who is also a cancer survivor, co-wrote the film, and let many of her experiences flow into the scenes. Creed and Grantham met at a coffee shop in New York after she had been diagnosed and later the two decided to start working on this project.

It was very important to both of them that the main character was not portrayed as solely a victim, and therefore as the cliché of cancer patients in the film industry. To avoid that, the filmmaker included many elements of subtle humor which does not reduce the protagonist to this worst experience of her life. “I can always find humor in the darkest moments,” Creed said, “because humor is the only way to get yourself out.”

For the trailer and more information about “Lily,” please visit http://www.thefilmlily.com/.
If you’d like to know more about the UMass Boston Film Series and upcoming screenings, visit http://www.umb.edu/filmseries.