She is a quiet, attractive, smart and hard-working Asian woman from a Christian family. Ambitious yet dutiful to her parents, she is now out there in the world, succeeding in whatever she sets her mind to. Too bad you never really knew her. Chances are, too, that her name is Grace Lee.
Grace Lee is the Asian equivalent of Jane Smith – with all the stereotypical baggage that goes alone with it. Everyone who knows her describes her as the consummate Asian girl. But why then is she so unmemorable, despite her myriad of accomplishments and her hyper-achieving ways? It was up to one filmmaker, another Grace Lee, to find out.
Borne out of curiosity and frustration over her own name, this very different Grace Lee decided to embark upon an ambitious project to contact and be contacted by as many Grace Lees as possible. After years of research and hundreds of hours of footage, the result is The Grace Lee Project – an insightful, though-provoking and often hilarious documentary that delves into the identity, ethnicity and cultural expectation of the Asian woman in North America.
From a gifted teenager living in Silicon Valley to an 88 year-old activist who champions the rights of African-Americans, we come to realise the wealth of uniqueness among the Grace Lees, as well as the qualities that they all share. It then comes as no surprise that there is a little of Grace Lee within all of us. Winner: Emerging Director, New York Asian-American Film Festival.
Director: Ji-yeon Kwon | South Korea 2004 | 22:00 | North American Premiere
Once a country girl, always a country girl. One young woman struggles with her provincial mannerisms, while her visiting mother is lost among the hustle and bustle of Seoul. Will they find each other, or will the disparity between their lives keep them apart?
Grace Lee is a writer/director currently based in Los Angeles. An MFA graduate from UCLA’s Film School, her thesis film starring Sandra Oh, Barrier Device, garnered a Student Academy Award and a Directors Guild of America Student Award in 2002. She is currently preparing her narrative feature film debut, Smells Like Butter, also starring Oh.