UPDATED:  August 7, 2007 7:27 PM
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‘Falling For Grace’ Opens in D.C. Cinema Aug. 3

Wharton School graduate and erstwhile TV fixture Fay Ann Lee is the star, writer and director of the romantic comedy, “Falling For Grace,” also known as “East Broadway.” The movie opens on August 3 at AMC Loews Dupont Circle 5, located on 1350 19th Street, NW, Washington, DC  20036.

The film received good reviews when it was shown in last year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Under the title, “East Broadway,” it was a sold-out hit, resulting in additional screening at the festival.

In “Tribeca Films Up Close,” Sara Brady wrote in Premiere Magazine’s April 27, 2006 issue: “Lee brings a fresh twist to the tired structure (of romantic comedies) by setting her story predominantly in New York's Chinatown among minimum-wage immigrants and their Americanized children. It's not particularly difficult to see where the story's going, but knowing what comes next makes up much of the reliable satisfaction of a romantic comedy.”

Fay, born and raised in Hong Kong, came to the United States in her teens. She attended The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in Finance. But instead of accepting offers from Wall Street, Fay instead pursued acting and was quickly cast in the Broadway production of “Miss Saigon.” The Broadway show led to TV and guest starring roles on prime time hit shows such as “Law & Order,”  “L&O: Criminal Intent,” “Third Watch” and played recurring roles on two ABC-TV soaps, “All My Children” and “One Life To Live.”

Last year, Fay was invited to Beijing to speak at China's top-ranked Tsinghua University about “Falling For Grace,” and how the film addresses inter-cultural issues in a multi-cultural society.  The Chinese students suggested the sequel be shot in China.

As a result of her China trip, colleges around the country are now also “Falling for Grace.” Since Tsinghua, Fay has been invited to speak at Yale three times, Boston University, Temple University, Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Old Dominion, James Madison, Bucks County Community College and most recently, Stanford University, to talk about her personal journey as an independent female minority filmmaker.

Film synopsis

Grace Tang is an ambitious, hardworking woman determined to get out of working-class Chinatown. She becomes an associate position at a topnotch Wall Street investment bank. But Grace yearns to be part of the Upper East Side socialite world.

When Grace finally receives that elusive invitation to the Opera’s prestigious Junior Committee Meet & Greet, she is prepared to shine. What she isn’t prepared for, however, is being mistaken as “the Grace Tang” of the Shanghai Tangs, an heiress from Hong Kong. But before Grace can correct the situation, she is introduced to Andrew Barrington, Jr., one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors–and she decides to run with her new identity.

What follows is a whirlwind ride of romance and white lies, where we are offered a glimpse into the greedy world of Wall Street and the human side of Chinatown–two different worlds that interconnect. When Grace and Andrew’s worlds finally collide, through humor, romance, heartbreak and forgiveness, Grace ultimately learns to accept herself for what she is.

 New York Magazine (April 24, 2006), noting there were 26 movies at Tribeca festival, urged film goers to start with two films, including “Falling for Grace” (a.k.a. East Broadway), which “stars writer-director Fay Ann Lee as a city girl romping through a sprightly Chinatown romantic comedy with Gale Harold and Margaret Cho...”

Fay’s first screenplay was a quarterfinalist at the 2003 Nicholl’s Fellowship, a semi-finalist at The Chesterfield Screenwriting Competition in L. A., and was among the Top 3 films at the 2002 Asian American International Film Festival Screenwriting Competition.

All in all, it took Fay a decade to get “Falling for Grace” from script to screen. But she recalled: “I also had some of the most amazing experiences of my career, with the likes of Academy Award winning writer Jim Taylor. Producer Graham Place picked up the phone every time I needed help with another emergency situation, and he kept reminding me to keep my eye on the prize–finishing the film.”

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