Director and Film Subject Speak on Beatles Documentary Good Ol' Freda Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 03.10.2013
Featuring classic Beatles music...
Billboard spoke with filmmaker Ryan White and film subject Freda Kelly on the new Beatles-themed docuemntary Good Ol' Freda. The film recently premiered at SXSW. The film is the story of the Beatles secretary and fan club manager, Freda Kelly. Here are some highlights:
White on getting clearance for the Ketty Lester song "Love Letters" for the movie in a nod to how the Beatles would play the song at the end of their old Cavern Club sets: "I can get the Beatles and Little Richard and Buddy Holly, but I can't get Ketty Lester? I have 18 songs in the soundtrack and hers is probably the least known. But it was the hardest [to clear]...I was also hellbent on getting it as our end credit song, just as a nod [to the Cavern]."
White on being able to to get approvals for up to 25 Beatles songs for the movie: "I feel like the luckiest filmmaker in the world in that I kept getting yesses, figuring I would get a no (in the next round). It really is a testament to Freda that I could call EMI and say this is what my movie's about and I have these people on board, here is the money I am working with and is there any way you can make this work for us. Time after time, people were drawn into Freda's story and the way she lived her life, never cashed in on the Beatles, never sold them out...I was hoping to come away with one Beatle song. That would have been a major, major coup if we got one, so when the approval came in for four I was floored. Now I had all theses songs I needed to replace. Luckily -- and this was all unclear to me at the time -- once the Beatles have approved, everyone is willing to work with you."
Kelly on finding original questionnaires filled out by the Beatles at NEMS Enterprises: "In the beginning, people wanted to know how tall is Paul, what's the color of John's eyes, what's his favorite meal. So I asked them to fill in [a questionnaire]. John's is hilarious -- it's scribbled all over, [says] Brigitte Bardot and things like that. For type of car, he wrote 'bus.' I typed them up, got thousands of copies made and used to stick them in the letters rather than try to answer (a specific) question."
Kelly on going on tour with the Beatles: "I should have been on the bus for two weeks, but I gave up after a week. How can you tell a Beatle fan now I didn't want to do a second week because of the madness? They wonder, is she right in the head? Who wouldn't want to be with the Beatles? I needed to get back to reality."
Good Ol' Freda currently does not have a distributor. Submarine Films are currently in the process of selling the US rights and Ro*co Films is handling international sales.