For Jim McGreevey, Aug. 12, 2004 was - in his words - "a train wreck." That was the day the New Jersey governor announced his resignation from office amidst scandal and declared himself "a gay American" on live television. After his political downfall and the divorce that followed, McGreevey found himself stripped of the trappings of his former life, at an existential crossroads.
Directed, produced and filmed by Emmy® winner Alexandra Pelosi (HBO's "Citizen U.S.A.: A 50 State Road Trip" and "Journeys with George"), FALL TO GRACE reveals how McGreevey reinvented himself after that painful period, touching on themes of redemption and transformation. The documentary follows him as he studies to become an Episcopal priest and motivates incarcerated women to believe they deserve a second chance, featuring candid interviews with McGreevey, female inmates and prison and church officials, as well as archival news footage of him and his former wife.
In "Act One," as he calls it, McGreevey married twice, fathered two daughters and reveled in the power and perks of political office. He recalls how the political limelight fed his ego and produced an addiction to adoration that ultimately "brought no more permanent happiness than heroin provides a junkie."
In "Act Two," following his resignation and coming out, McGreevey lives a simpler life. FALL TO GRACE chronicles the spiritual quest that has led him to serve as a spiritual advisor to female inmates. McGreevey champions the women, prays with them, urges them to better themselves and hugs them like family.
The documentary is a story about second chances, which McGreevey says everybody deserves. "No one should be defined by the nadir of their existence," he says. "That shouldn't define the entirety of their narrative."
FALL TO GRACE was selected to premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Shorts Competition.
FALL TO GRACE is the eighth HBO documentary by Alexandra Pelosi, who made the 2002's Emmy® winner "Journeys with George," as well as "Diary of a Political Tourist" (2004), "Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi" (2007), "The Trials of Ted Haggard" (2009), "Right America: Feeling Wronged - Some Voices from the Campaign Trail" (2009), "Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County" (2010) and "Citizen U.S.A.: A 50 State Road Trip" (2011).
For more on the film, visit facebook.com/HBODocs and twitter.com @HBODocs #FalltoGrace.
FALL TO GRACE was directed, produced and filmed by Alexandra Pelosi; editors, Ken Eluto, A.C.E. and Tom Patterson; original music, Pat Irwin. For HBO: senior producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.
Official Selection - 2013 Sundance Film Festival