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Grace: A documentary on the noted short-story writer, poet, educator and political activist Grace Paley

About the Filmmakers

Sonya Friedman, producer/co-director, is a multi-award winning documentary filmmaker and an Academy Award Nominee. She and her late husband, Herman J. Engel, were Grace’s close friends and her companions in many anti-war demonstrations. Friedman and Engel met Grace through her first husband, Jess Paley, who was a cameraman for Engel.  After Grace’s second marriage to Robert Nichols, Sonya and Grace celebrated their husbands’ July birthdays together for many years. Friedman’s oeuvre includes films on art and artists, history, politics and biography.


Herman J. Engel (1924 – 2008), co-director.  As a lover of poetry and progressive politics, Engel had started – just before his death – this documentary about Grace Paley, his friend of 50 years. Engel was a ground-breaking documentary filmmaker, expressing his political and social commitment in his anti-war films (“Dr. Spock and His Babies”) and his advocacy videos (“Women in Prison” and “Would You Cross a Picket Line?”) For many years, Engel was in charge of the documentary program at New York University Graduate School of Film and Television.


Linda Leehman, co-director, videographer and co-editor. For the past decade, Leehman has videotaped noted literary, political, and art personalities of Vermont – including Grace Paley. Leehman produces two shows a week for the Montpelier, Vermont Public Access Television, showcasing news that often does not appear on mainstream television. She also works for the Vermont State Legislature.


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