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Good Ol' Freda documentary big hit at San Francisco Int'l Film Festival

by Katie Hickox, Beatles News Special Reporter

The new film about Freda Kelly, the Beatles Fan Club Secretary, called "Good Ol' Freda," screened tonight at the San Francisco International Film Festival before a full house and was well received.

The film is the incredible and wonderful story of how young 17 year old Freda Kelly got her dream job as Brian Epstein's Secretary and then soon after as the "Beatles Fan Club Secretary" to keep up with the growing fan mail generated by Beatles fans.

Freda, along with film producers Ryan White and Kathy McGabe, were on hand after the film to do a Q&A during which Freda explained why she did the film, to show her grandson and daughter what she did as the Beatles fan club secretary for 11 years until the Beatles fan club shut down in 1972.

Ryan White, Freda Kelly and Kathy McGabe

Film producer Ryan White said that he has over 40 hours of filmed interview, and that so much was left out. He also spoke about how he asked for permission for 25 Beatles and got permission for four songs, plus the Beatles Christmas album, so they were able to substitute original songs or cover versions for the Beatles songs instead.

There were over 600 photos showed in the film, of which something like 100 were Freda's, and there were roughly 5 Beatles songs that were approved for the film. The film ends with a short videotaped message of Love and Peace from Ringo.

What a treat for any Beatles fan, young or old and even non-Beatles fans. Freda went back thru memory lane, showing rare photos and even some video clips of her with the Beatles when she appeared in the Magical Mystery Tour, and was part of the entourage for when the Beatles made the historic visit to Liverpool Town Hall as part of the City of Liverpool's celebration of the Beatles' Hard Days Night.

Freda was truly part of the Beatles family as she got to know the Beatles family. The film also focuses on Brian Epstein and shows rare photos of the Epsteins' NEMS music store and much much more.

Freda says that she has no plans to write any "tell all" books and that she keeps many stories and experiences with the Beatles to herself.

While tonight's screening is sold out, there are some ticket available for the Sunday May 4th screening on the UC Berkeley campus at the Pacific Film Archive, though Freda won't be there due a previous engagement. For more info, go to festival.sffs.org and click on films at the upper right hand corner of the home page.

Related articles:

• Good Ol' Freda then and now (9/5/13)
• Freda Kelly talks about Good Ole Freda on Beatles radio show (7/18/13)

Published May 2, 2013

This article is Copyright © 2013, Katie Hickox, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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