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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Lilian Mehrel, 2013

MFA, New York University (NYU)

Lilian Mehrel is the child of immigrants from Germany and Iran

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MFA in Film Directing/Writing/Cinematography at New York University (NYU)

Lilian Mehrel is a writer & director with a fresh sense of humor and vision.

She creates film & tv, illustrated books, and virtual reality. 

With a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, she is an MFA graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film. 

Lilian’s films have premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, Slamdance, CIFF, Toronto’s FIVARS, and the Atlanta Film Festival, and won awards from the Tribeca Film Institute, ABC/Disney, IFP Marcie Bloom Fellowship / Sony Pictures Classics, Alfred P. Sloan, the Science & Entertainment Exchange / Imagine Science Films, NYU Tisch, the Puffin Foundation, the Nancy Malone Directing Award, New York Women in Film & TV, and student award nominations for Kodak, the National Board Review, and BAFTA.

Lilian’s television and episodic writing earned her Tribeca All Access and Google JumpStart awards. Her previous work includes creating a James Franco BTS series, videos for Vogue, work as a Google TiltBrush artist, and a collaboration with Within and the Portals project at the United Nations. She created one of the first live-action virtual reality narrative films, which debuted at Tribeca Interactive. 

Lilian was born to a Kurdish-Iranian mother and German-Hungarian-Jewish father, sparking her life-long experience of multiple worlds. From Miami public school, she went to Dartmouth College, where she was awarded a Senior Fellowship. She wrote and illustrated MUCHIJOON, a hybrid family memoir published for Rauner Special Collections. She also began improv comedy, continuing at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Lilian’s stories reveal the underlying universalities she sees between people, shaped by her work connecting youth from conflicting countries – with Seeds of Peace, Kathryn Davis 100 Projects for Peace, and YALA Peace – a creative leadership program for diverse girls she founded at the Arab Jewish Community Center of Yafo.

Maira Kalman called her work “epic and cinematic… full of heart and curiosity.” Lilian promptly fainted.

  • MFA Film Directing/Writing/Cinematography | New York University (NYU) 2017
  • BA Creative Writing | Dartmouth College 2009
  • Alfred P. Sloan Science Foundation Film Award
  • Tribeca Film Institute: All Access Award, Interactive Prototype
  • Google JumpStart Award
  • Nancy Malone Directing Award
  • Imagine Science 48 hour film: 1st place
  • ABC/Disney Film Award
  • Official Selection at the Tribeca Film Festival (Interactive Playground)
  • BAFTA student nomination
  • Puffin Foundation Film Award
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