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Francis Lee (director)

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Francis Lee (Director) at diff 2021

Francis Lee (born 1969[1]) is an English filmmaker who has written and directed the films God's Own Country (2017) and Ammonite (2020).

Life and career[edit]

Francis Lee grew up on his family's farm in Soyland, Calderdale, West Yorkshire. After finishing school, he studied acting at the Rose Bruford College and worked in the theatre afterwards.[2] Lee first appeared on television in 1994 in Peak Practice, which was followed by guest roles in television series like Midsomer Murders, Heartbeat and Casualty. In cinema, he had small roles in Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy (1999) and in Sandra Goldbacher's Me Without You (2001).

Although working as a director today, he never trained at a film school.[1] In the 2000s, Lee lost interest in acting and wanted to tell his own stories. While working at a scrapyard, he made his directing debut with the short film The Farmer's Wife (2012), followed by the short films Bradford Halifax London (2013) and The Last Smallholder (2014).[3] He had his breakthrough with the 2017 film God's Own Country, which received critical acclaim.[4] He won prizes at the Sundance Film Festival and the Teddy Awards, the Breakthrough director award at the London Film Critics' Circle and the BAFTA Award for Best Debut Screenwriter.

Lee directed Ammonite, which was released in September 2020 and stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as a lesbian couple in the 19th century.[5]

He is working on an upcoming horror film that explores themes of "class and queerness".[6]

He divides his time between Yorkshire and London.[7]


Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Writer
2012 The Farmer's Wife Yes Yes Short film
2013 Bradford Halifax London Yes Yes
2014 The Last Smallholder Yes Yes
2017 God's Own Country Yes Yes Feature debut
2020 Ammonite Yes Yes


  1. ^ a b ""They're not characters who say 'I love you,' so they call each other 'faggots'""., TIFF interview from the end of 2017 where he states that he has turned 48.
  2. ^ "Notable Alumni". Rose Bruford College. Archived from the original on 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  3. ^ Clarke, Cath (29 August 2017). "Director Francis Lee on sex, piglets and fighting off Hollywood from his hilltop hut". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "God's Own Country (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. 25 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Francis Lee To Direct Kate Winslet & Saoirse Ronan In Lesbian Lovers Drama Ammonite". theplaylist.net.
  6. ^ Tabberer, Jamie (13 April 2021). "Josh O'Connor to star in queer horror film by Francis Lee". Attitude.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Francis Lee (@strawhousefilms)". Twitter. Retrieved 27 April 2021. Yorkshire (& London sometimes)

External links[edit]