Lee Percy wrote and directed Dreaming American. The award winning 24-minute dramatic film, chronicles the true story of a young Albanian man’s struggle to survive in New York City without papers. Percy was gratified by all of the talented people who were inspired to volunteer their time and help bring the film to life.
Percy recently finished editing Kimberly Pierce’s “Carrie” for MGM and followed that with work as Supervising Producer on Starz’ Magic City. Prior to that Percy worked as an editor on Columbia Pictures “Salt” with Angelina Jolie directed by Philip Noyce. Lee originally trained as an actor at the Juilliard School. He finds this background invaluable and considers himself lucky to have edited three films which won top acting Oscars: Hillary Swank for “Boys Don’t Cry,” Jeremy Irons for “Reversal of Fortune,” and William Hurt for “Kiss of the Spiderwoman,” Percy also edited “Maria Full of Grace,” for which Catalina Sandino Moreno was nominated as best actress.
He edited several movies for HBO Films and received Emmy nominations for two them: “Grey Gardens,” with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore and “Taking Chance,” with Kevin Bacon. Percy took home the Emmy for the latter. All three of the actors won multiple honors. Percy was also recognized by his peers when he received an American Cinema Editors Eddie Award (by editors for editors) for Grey Gardens. He was nominated for “Taking Chance” at the same time. He won his first Eddie for HBO’s “Against the Wall,” one of several projects he did with the late John Frankenheimer. Percy was also nominated for the HBO film “Mrs. Harris” with Annette Bening and Ben Kingsley.
Percy has worked with director Barbet Schroeder on such films as “Before and After” with Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson, “Kiss of Death” with Nicolas Cage and Samuel Jackson, “Single White Female,” with Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, as well as “Reversal of Fortune” which starred Glenn Close with Irons.
Percy’s other credits include Henry Bean’s “The Believer,” winner of the 2001 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, as well as films with Harold Ramis, Kathryn Bigelow and Jesse Nelson. He’s currently hard at work preparing to direct several features Lee looks forward to making Dreaming American as his first.
“I met Praq Rado at an industry party he was catering. We talked about movies and at the end of the evening he informed me I was going to make a film about his life. I laughed, but once I heard his story I was deeply moved. I was able to draw on my own experiences in acting school to come up with the improv class as the way to both frame the story and focus the emotion.
Once I started writing the screenplay the filming became inevitable. There were many times in preproduction when it looked like we would never get the film off the ground. I had to be ready to let it go, but never really did. Even as late as two days before shooting we lost our main location (the bar), but the story had to be told and we found a way to do it.”