“In a world in which 15 minutes of fame is no longer considered enough and celebrity is valued over morality, Freda Kelly is a rare personality. Despite her years working in the entertainment industry and her unparalleled access to the most talked about band on the planet, Freda remains untarnished.” This is how director Ryan White describes the subject of his documentary Good Ol’ Freda.
In 1962, seventeen-year-old Liverpool teenager Freda Kelly was plucked from an office typing pool and offered a job working for a local band. Already a fan of the group and in charge of their fan club, she accepted the offer and, for the next 11 years, she had a front row seat, as The Beatles became one of the most successful and well-known bands of all time. Freda has never agreed to tell her story before; however, with the birth of her grandson, she recognized the importance of sharing her experiences, allowing us to learn more about her unique perspective on one of the most significant periods of music and cultural history. Presenting Freda’s personal stories about the band that changed the history of music, Good Ol’ Freda, is one of the few documentaries about this remarkable band that was made with the support of the two surviving Beatles, and features original Beatles music.
Punctuated with her infectious giggle and, at times, emotional recollections, Freda describes how her amazing adventure began when she was taken to see The Beatles play at the Cavern Club one lunch hour and how that chance encounter evolved into a 10-year position as the band’s secretary, friend and confidant. She describes answering thousands of fan letters, always insisting that The Beatles personally signed every one. When fans asked for locks of hair, she went to their barber and collected the hair and, when one fan sent a pillowcase and requested that it be returned after Ringo slept on it, Freda gave it to his mother to make sure he did just that. Freda understood the fans, she said, because she was one of them. And, because of that, she took her responsibility of responding to fan letters very seriously. When the time finally came for the band to part ways, it was Freda who broke the news to the “Beatles people” in her newsletter.
Good Ol’ Freda was directed and co-produced by Ryan White, the producer/director of the award-winning documentary Pelada about a global journey told through the perspective of pick-up soccer. Named a Sundance Fellow for his upcoming documentary Perry v. Schwarzenegger, White’s other screen credits include: Capitol Crimes (Bill Moyers, PBS); Dead Wrong: Inside an Intelligence Meltdown (CNN); 9/11: For the Record (Bill Moyers, PBS); and Country Boys (Frontline, PBS). Co-producing the film with White was Kathy McCabe, an acclaimed photographer and Beatles expert who worked extensively in the music industry and was instrumental in initiating and engineering the production and Jessica Lawson, a freelance writer, producer and marketing specialist.
After premiering at the SXSW Film Festival in 2010, Good Ol’ Freda has been screened at more than twenty film festivals around the world and has received glowing reviews from Variety, The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter as well as from noted Beatles journalist, Larry Kane who wrote, "[Good Ol’ Freda is] a compelling tale of the woman who played a decisive role as protector, guardian, and friend to The Beatles. Freda Kelly was truly the believer; in her mind, the dream would never be denied. This film is pure heaven for Beatles fans of all ages."
Good Ol’ Freda will be released in theaters on September 6th in theaters, as well as through Video on Demand and iTunes.