Docs In The City: Spotlight on Identity Documentaries Featuring Grace Lee

Jul 19, 2018 6:30 PM - 10:30 PM EDT, Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Event Description
Advance Ticketing is Now Closed for This Event
We will have a Standby Line for At-the-Door Tickets. 

Explore the theme of identity through documentary, including an opportunity to watch a documentary from an iconic filmmaker -- in this case, Grace Lee -- and provide feedback on a new work-in-progress.

Work-in-Progress Screening of Building the American Dream
Watch and provide feedback on a new documentary work-in-progress which fits with our theme of identity. We will be screening and discussing Building the American Dream which looks at how, In the shadow of a lucrative building boom in Texas, more construction workers die on the job than any other state. Building the American Dream follows the intimate stories of hard-working, predominantly Latino families fighting for their livelihood and lives. Following the screening of the rough cut of the film, we will facilitate a feedback session which will feature feedback from Grace Lee and the audience with the director Chelsea Hernandez and co-editor Sarah Garrahan.

Screening of Off the Menu: Asian America 
What exactly does food reflect about Asian Pacific Americans? Director Grace Lee traveled across the United States to explore our obsession with food as a launching point to delve into a wealth of stories, traditions, and unexpected characters that help nourish this nation of immigrants. From Texas to New York to Wisconsin to Hawaii, go on a journey where family, tradition, faith, geography, and cultural identity shape our relationship to food. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Grace Lee.

A ticket for both films and discussions is $15.  Free for 2018 Docs In Progress Fellows and members of our Docs Insiders program (register with Promo Code)

​Captioned films and ASL interpretation will be provided upon request (2 weeks advance notice)


This program is organized by Docs In Progress
and made possible through the support of




6:30 pm – 7:00 pm             Mix and Mingle (cash bar)    
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm              Work-in-Progress Screening and Feedback Session for Building the American Dream
8:45 pm – 10:30 pm           Screening and Discussion of Off the Menu: Asian America with Grace Lee

(A single ticket gets you into both screenings)


Grace Lee (Off the Menu: Asian America) is an independent producer and director and writer working in both narrative and non-fiction film. She directed the 2014 Peabody Award-winning documentary American Revolutionary: the Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, which The Hollywood Reporter called ”an entertainingly revealing portrait of the power of a single individual to effect change.” The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival where it won its first of six audience awards before its broadcast on the PBS documentary series POV. Her documentary The Grace Lee Project won multiple awards, broadcast on the Sundance Channel and was called “ridiculously entertaining” by New York Magazine and “ a funny but complex meditation on identity and cultural expectation,” by Variety.  Other credits include the Emmy-nominated Makers: Women in Politics for PBS; Janeane From Des Moines, set during the 2012 presidential campaign, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival as well as American Zombie, a personal horror film, which premiered at Slamdance and is distributed by Cinema Libre. Her most recent work is K-TOWN '92, an interactive documentary that explores the impact and legacy of the 1992 Los Angeles riots/rebellion/civil unrest 25 years later through a diverse range of stories from communities of color in Koreatown and beyond whose stories have been widely unheard and ignored. Koreatown and beyond. 

Grace received her MFA in Film Directing from UCLA Film School where her short film Barrier Device, starring Sandra Oh and Suzy Nakamura, won a Student Academy Award. Grace returns to her alma mater and other universities frequently as a guest speaker and lecturer. She has served on panels and juries including the Independent Spirit Awards, Los Angeles Film Festival, POV’s EdComm, Center for Asian American Media, and the International Documentary Association, and has shown her work as part of the U.S. Department of State funded American Showcase which brings American documentary filmmakers to countries around the world to provide professional development for filmmakers.

Chelsea Hernandez (Building the American Dream) is a Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. Her work focuses on the unique perspectives of various issues and topics through the lens of ordinary people who challenge the status quo and injustices in this world. She is a fellow of Firelight Media Doc Lab, Tribeca All Access, Bay Area Video Coalition National Mediamaker Program, and NALIP Latino Media Market.

Sarah Garrahan (Building the American Dream) is a New York-based documentary filmmaker, producer and editor, originally from San Antonio, Texas. She holds an MFA from Duke University in the Experimental and Documentary Arts. Her work focuses on the working class, family, the everyday, and ways of knowing. In addition to serving as co-editor for Building the American Dream, she is also an associate producer on The Infiltrators by Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera.

See Trailers from the Films


Atlantic Plumbing Cinema is located right off of U Street in the Shaw/Howard University neighborhood.

By Public Transportation
Accessible from the Green and Yellow Metrorail lines by way of the U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo metro station (use 10th and U Street exit). Bus service is available nearby using the 63, 64, 70, 90, 92, 93, 96 and the X3 WMATA bus lines.

Parking is available at Atlantic Plumbing . Enter at 2112 8th Street NW (mid-block on 8th between V Street & Barry Pl.). Available 24 hours/day. $3/hour payable via ParkMobile app.

Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
807 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001, United States
Ticket Information
Docs In The City - Identity (IE2-2111)
A ticket includes admission to both the Work-in-Progress screening of Building the American Dream and the screening and discussion of Grace Lee's Off the Menu: Asian America Docs In Progress Fellows and Docs Insiders should use comp codes provided.
More details
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About Docs In The City

Docs In the City is a film screening series from Docs In Progress where we pair seasoned and emerging documentary filmmakers whose films share a genre or theme. Each program includes a screening of a work-in-progress by an up-and-coming documentary filmmaker followed by a feedback session with the audience and the seasoned filmmaker as respondent. This will be followed by a new look at an iconic film by the seasoned filmmaker. Past seasoned filmmakers have included Doug Block and Michèle Stephenson. Past work in progress alumni of this program include Life Is Rich and Unfinished Work.

Docs In Progress is a nonprofit film arts organization which gives individuals the tools to tell stories through documentary film to educate, inspire, and transform the way people view their world. Every year, we reach more than 1000+ documentary filmmakers and film fans through educational and professional development programs, artist services, and public screening programs, including Docs In the City. Learn more at

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