BECOMING A DIRECTOR
I stumbled into filmmaking after graduating from college. I was living in Korea for a couple of years and I got involved with a support center for Korean women who were working as prostitutes for American GI's near the Demilitarized Zone. I originally wanted to do some kind of oral history project about the women because my background in college was history and journalism and because I wanted to help let other people hear these stories. I had never used a video camera before. I met filmmaker Diana Lee and then PhD student, Kathy Moon, who were both interested in the topic, and we decided to pool our resources and make the documentary CAMP ARIRANG, which is about militarized prostitution in South Korea.
When I came back to the States, I just started trying to get more experience, getting production work, working on various documentaries as a researcher or assistant. I worked for a television show as a post-production assistant and got involved in a production workshop at Third World Newsreel in New York. I was getting my feet wet, while simultaneously trying to co-produce a documentary. I was making a film, but I had so much to learn about the whole process.
I had always been interested in writing my own stories and working with actors. I decided to go back to film school and focus on that aspect, and that's what I've done ever since. I'm currently working on a feature script that I plan to direct, but in the meantime, I continue to make documentaries because I just love the process. There are just so many stories and characters out there - the ones you could never recreate in a fiction form because the originals are so much more interesting.
Grace Lee is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker. Her short film BARRIER DEVICE, starring Sandra Oh, won a Student Academy Award, screened in festivals internationally and was broadcast on the Sundance Channel. She co-produced and directed the documentary CAMP ARIRANG and is currently working on THE GRACE LEE PROJECT, for which she received funding from The Rockefeller Foundation and NAATA. She recently completed BEST OF THE WURST, a short documentary in Berlin funded by the Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg, and is preparing her feature film debut. She has an MFA in Film Production from UCLA Film School.