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Balls is a short film, co-written, developed and produced by Lily Cole set in Liverpool. As Lily explains:

“The film is inspired by Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, who was found as a child in late eighteenth-century Liverpool. Emily Brontë’s choice to make Heathcliff from Liverpool was likely informed by her brother Branwell Brontë’s visit in 1845. Liverpool is particularly poignant for understanding Heathcliff, considering its role at the time as a port for the slave trade and it’s many Irish immigrants, and Heathcliff’s position as socially (and potentially racially) distinct from the other characters in the novel.

Peggy and Mary Ann, the lead characters in the film, are based on real women who left their babies at the Foundling Hospital in the late 18th and early 19th century.  With an infant mortality rate of 95% mothers who could not afford to look after their illegitimate babies had no choice but to seek help from the Foundling Hospital.

I felt the pain of those women and children’s experiences – and the surreality of the Foundling Hospital’s admission procedures – would be made all the more powerful and relevant if represented in a contemporary setting.

I hope this film will be the catalyst for a public discussion around women’s rights and children’s rights, the progress we have made over the last 200 + years and the challenges we still face as a society.”

The complete short film will premiere at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth on 29 July 2018 – the eve of Emily Brontë’s 200th birthday. The film will then be screened at the Brontë Parsonage Museum and the Foundling Museum simultaneously from 31 July – 2 December. There will be an exclusive screening in Liverpool in August (to be confirmed).

Balls has been co-written by Lily Cole and Stacey Gregg, and produced by Kate Wilson at Fury Films. The film has been made possible with support from Arts Council England.

Cast of Balls

John Sessions , Sarah Gadon, Tia Bannon, Gillian Bevan.