Photo by Michael Yamashita

Photo by Michael Yamashita

Grace Dammann, MD, co-founded one of the first HIV/AIDS clinics for poor people in San Francisco at Laguna Honda Hospital and signed more than 1,000 death certificates in the six-year period that marked the disease’s deadliest era. She was honored for her work by the Dalai Lama with an Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award in 2005. 

Her life changed forever in 2008 when, while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge with her daughter Sabrina and their dog Mack, another car swerved across the plastic median divider and crashed into them head on. Grace was airlifted to the hospital, where she remained in a coma and endured numerous surgeries before regaining consciousness with her mental facilities miraculously intact. She lived in rehabilitation hospitals for more than a year before returning home.

Grace eventually joined forces with the driver who hit her to advocate for a steel-and-concrete median barrier on the bridge. The barrier was recently installed and will prevent future head-on collisions. Grace spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating its completion in January 2015. 

Nancy “Fu” Schroeder

Nancy “Fu” Schroeder and Grace met on a Zen retreat in 1988, and they became romantic partners for many years. In 1993, though they were no longer a couple, they agreed to continue living together to adopt and raise their daughter Sabrina, who was born with cerebral palsy. Following Grace’s accident, Fu took on the responsibility of acting as Grace’s primary caregiver.

During her 35 years as a resident of San Francisco Zen Center, Fu has held most of the monastic positions. In 2014, she became abiding abbess at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. She has been an active supporter of programs for children, people of color, the gay and lesbian community, and the interfaith community. Fu received dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 1999.

Listen to Fu’s Dharma Talks at the San Francisco Zen Center archive (search for Furyu Schroeder)


Sabrina Schroeder-Dammann

Grace and Fu’s daughter, Sabrina, was in the car with Grace at the time of the accident and survived with relatively minor injuries. She graduated from Marin High School in 2012 and is now a student at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.






Since 2004, award-winning directors/producers Mark Lipman and Helen S. Cohen have been creating documentary projects together under their Open Studio Productions banner. Lipman’s films have been broadcast nationally on public television and won numerous awards. His producing credits include To Have and To Hold (1981), the first documentary to look at domestic violence through the experiences of men; Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street (1996), a film about the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative’s successful efforts to revitalize a Boston neighborhood devastated by redlining, arson, and illegal dumping; Father’s Day (2003), an experimental documentary about the death of his father; Gaining Ground (2012), a sequel to Holding Ground that explores Dudley Street’s success in preventing foreclosures and fostering youth leadership; and Street of Dreams: Development Without Displacement in Communities of Color (2013). He also edited Alaska Far Away (2008), a feature documentary about a controversial New Deal program that relocated two hundred destitute farm families into the wilds of Alaska.

Cohen’s producing credits include It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School (1996), the groundbreaking documentary that addresses anti-gay prejudice and explores how teachers can include discussions about LGBT people in their classrooms; That’s a Family! (2000), where elementary school–age kids describe in their own words the many shapes that families take in today’s diverse world; and Let’s Get Real (2003), an in-depth look at name-calling and bullying in middle schools, told entirely from a youth perspective. She has also directed, produced, and/or executive produced documentaries for public interest organizations, including Homes & Hands: Community Land Trusts in Action (1998) and Street of Dreams: Development Without Displacement in Communities of Color (2013).

Kenji Yamamoto (Editor)

Kenji Yamamoto is an award-winning producer and editor. His editing credits include the dramatic feature Thousand Pieces of Gold (1991), starring Chris Cooper and Rosalind Chao, as well as the documentaries Downside Up (2002), which aired on the PBS series Independent Lens; Smitten (2005), which aired as a PBS primetime special; New Muslim Cool (2009), from the PBS series P.O.V.; Between Two Worlds (2011); and Rebels With a Cause (2013). Yamamoto has also edited documentaries for National Geographic Channel, HBO, and the Discovery Channel, and has been an editor for KQED’s weekly science series, Quest, and weekly art series, Spark*. He has twice been invited to participate in the Sundance Institute’s Creative Labs.


Four-time Emmy award–winner Laura Karpman has been named one of the most important women in Hollywood by Variety. Karpman’s credits include the documentaries The Galapagos Affair: Satan Comes to Eden (2013) and Something Ventured (2011); the miniseries Taken (2002), executive produced by Steven Spielberg; the Showtime series Odyssey 5 (2002–03); the ABC miniseries Masters of Science Fiction (2007); the PBS series Craft in America (2007–12); and the dramatic features Man in the Chair (2007), starring Christopher Plummer; The Annihilation of Fish (1999), starring Lynn Redgrave and James Earl Jones; and The Tournament (2009), starring Ving Rhames and Robert Carlyle. Equally at home in the concert hall, Karpman has received commissions from the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Juliard School, and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, among others. Her multimedia opera Ask Your Mama (2009), commissioned by Carnegie Hall and written for Jessye Norman, the Roots, Nnenna Freelon, and d’Adre Aziza, from a text by Langston Hughes, premiered to critical acclaim.

Buy the States of Grace soundtrack on iTunes


Cinematographer & Sound Recordist
Mark Lipman

Eva Moss

Associate Producer
Joanna Sokolowski

Post-Production Sound Services Provided by
Skywalker Sound,
a Lucasfilm Ltd. Company
Marin County, California

Supervising Sound Editor
Bob Edwards


Sound Effects Editor
Casey Langfelder 

Re-Recording Mixer
Bob Edwards

Score Recording & Mix
Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum

Color Finishing
Gary Coates

HD Online & Conform
Jesse Spencer

Format Conversion & Mastering
Heather Lyon Weaver 
ZAP – Zoetrope Aubry Productions

Title Design
Core Studio

Communications Director
Daniel Nevers

Outreach Producer
Matt Chandler

JP Cutler Media
Paper Tiger

Fiscal Sponsorship
San Francisco Zen Center