19 Sep Q&A WITH GRACE LEE, DIRECTOR OF THE GRACE LEE PROJECT
PACIFIC ARTS MOVEMENT: This was such a unique idea! What really drove you to make this film—genuine curiosity about other Grace Lees? Or was it just a small experiment that turned into something much bigger?
GRACE LEE: It just turned into an obsession after years of hearing about so many other Grace Lees. They were always incredibly impressive or totally forgettable, kind of like the stereotype for Asians in general. I wanted to find out for myself if the Grace Lee stereotype was true.
PAC ARTS: Did you meet a large number of Grace Lees that fit what you (and maybe a lot of people) would expect (i.e. “good girls” that you referred to)? Or did you see more of the opposite?
LEE: First of all, I have nothing against “good girls” except that they make me look a loser in comparison. What’s interesting is that when you look into the pasts of Grace Lees that people perceive to be as rebels or revolutionaries (like Grace Lee Boggs, an activist from Detroit), you find out that she was an excellent student, graduated with a PhD in philosophy, and in her own way was an overachiever. So it’s possible for a Grace Lee, like anyone else, to be multi-dimensional. You can’t be good all the time!
PAC ARTS: Were there any Grace Lee-types that really surprised you?
LEE: Everyone ends up surprising you if you take the time to get to know them. I was surprised to meet the Christian Grace Lees because they were so open and willing to share their lives with me, even though I’m a non-believer. And I was always surprised to hear from Grace Lees who were not Asian, including a Mexican model and TV host.
PAC ARTS: What do you think this film accomplished or what do you hope it accomplished (other than satisfying your curiosity, haha)?
LEE: I hope people can laugh and be entertained while learning something about being an Asian American woman.
PAC ARTS: What project is next for you?
LEE: I’m preparing a couple of different feature film projects as well as figuring out distribution for THE GRACE LEE PROJECT.
PAC ARTS: Tell us an interesting fact about a) making this film b) yourself.
LEE: a) Interesting fact: I had first heard about Grace Lee Boggs (the Detroit activist) when I was in college through one of my history professors, way before Asian American scholars had her on their radar. He told me she was a socialist philosopher and at that time, I had no consciousness at all about Grace Lee being such a common Asian name. I assumed she was white, and that Lee was her middle name!
b) About myself: I’m obsessed with zombies.
THE GRACE LEE PROJECT is scheduled to screen on Saturday, 10/1 at 6:00 pm, Sunday, 10/2 at 5:05 pm, and Monday, 10/3 at 5:00 pm.
Pacific Arts Movement presents Asian American Pacific Islander and Asian international media arts for San Diego residents and visitors in order to inspire, entertain and support a more compassionate society.