Freida Lee Mock

Freida Lee Mock is an Academy Award®-winning filmmaker, a director, producer, and writer whose award-winning films include the following:

“Sing!” tells the story about a Los Angeles community-based children’s chorus which struggles against cutbacks and great odds to become, according to Esa-Pekka Salonen, the best children’s chorus he has ever heard. (Academy Award® nominee, Best Documentary Short Film, 2002)

"Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision" is a portrait of the artist/architect, which tells the gripping story behind the design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and its impact on the American people and on the life and work of Maya Lin in the following decade (Academy Award Winner, Best Feature Documentary Film, 1995; Directors Guild of America Award nominee 1995).

“Never Give Up: The 20th Century Odyssey of Herbert Zipper” tells the extraordinary story of Vienna-born musician and conductor Herbert Zipper who survived Dachau, Buchenwald and a Japanese concentration camp to become one of the great music educators of the world, continuing at 92 to bring music to the inner city schools of America and to youth orchestras in China and Europe (Academy Award® Nominee, Best Documentary Short Film, l996)

"Rose Kennedy: A Life To Remember,” honors Rose Kennedy’s l00 years and her life and work in the field of mental retardation (Academy Award® Nominee, Best Documentary Short Film, l99l).

"Lillian Gish: The Actor's Life for Me" looks at the history of cinema through the lens of the long life of the legendary actress (Prime-time Emmy Winner for Outstanding Informational Special, l989).

"The Kennedy Center Honors" Biographies honors individuals for lifetime achievement in the performing arts -- Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Dunham, Virgil Thomson, Elia Kazan and others (Prime-time Emmy Winner, Best Variety Special)

"To Live Or Let Die" explores the moral and ethical issues involved in the care of very ill newborn babies (lead program for the PBS series In Matters of Life and Death (Academy Award® nominee, Best Documentary Short Film).

"Screenwriters: Word Into Image” is a six part film series on the art and craft of screen writing, featuring Neil Simon, Robert Towne, William Goldman, Eleanor Perry, Paul Mazursky, and Carl Foreman (Prime-time Emmy Series nominee).

Mock has received an Academy Award®, five Academy Award® nominations, two prime-time Emmy Awards, and three prime-time Emmy nominations.

Her films range in stories and subjects from art, politics, history and ethics to penetrating biographies and are characterized by a freshness in ideas and an interest in saying something new.

She is in production on “Wrestling with Angels,” a theatrical feature documentary on playwright Tony Kushner (‘Angels in America,’ ‘Homebody/Kabul’); and “Enterprising Women,” a feature documentary about women as business entrepreneurs throughout America’s 250 year history, based on the museum exhibit of the same title. Mock is also in post-production on “Bella,” a film about the celebrated pioneer of modern dance Bella Lewitzky and is completing “Miss Dorothy West, The Spirit of the Harlem Renaissance.” At 9l Miss West was the last surviving writer of the Harlem Renaissance.

Among other award-winning films are "The New Indians" (National Geographic Special) narrated by Robert Redford, which looks at the impact of Red Power in contemporary Native American life; "Jung Sai: Chinese Americans," a history of the impact of Chinese immigration in America; and "Glory Road West," an exploration of Indian/white relations, featuring Russell Means.

She specializes in portrait films including ones on Benny Goodman, Gene Kelly, Aaron Copland, Steven Spielberg, and James Stewart. The films have shown theatrically and have broadcast as network specials.

Mock’s recent productions include: “Return with Honor,” a presentation of Tom Hanks and Playtone, which is a critically acclaimed theatrical feature nonfiction film about American fighter pilots held as prisoners of war in North Vietnam and their determination to survive with honor. She also completed the film “Bird by Bird with Annie,” a portrait of the best-selling author and humorist Anne Lamott (Operating Instructions, Traveling Mercies, Bird by Bird). The film premiered on Independent Lens, the new PBS series hosted by Angela Bassett.

Mock studied history and law and is a graduate of UC Berkeley and began her career at David Wolper Productions working on the “National Geographic” and the "Jacques Cousteau" series. She is a partner in Sanders and Mock Productions and co-founded the American Film Foundation with Terry Sanders to produce films on the arts, sciences, and the humanities.

She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, the National Asian American Telecommunications Association, Women in Film, the Writers Guild of America, the International Documentary Association, and the Independent Feature Project. She is a Governor of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science and is the Chair of its Documentary Executive Committee.

She has filmed throughout North America, Asia, and Europe and speaks Chinese and French.

Mock is the recipient of grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the American Film Institute, Women in Film, the Robeson Fund and numerous foundations in support of her film projects.

She has been a guest speaker at Cal Tech, the University of Massachusetts, the American Film Institute, the University of Redlands, the University of Southern California, Amherst University, Wesleyan University, Harvard-Westlake School, the Thacher School, Antioch University, and the Museum School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The inspiring and visually stunning book "Great Women of Film" by Helena Lumme celebrates 30 fascinating women who have made a difference in the motion picture industry. The chapter on women directors features Freida Lee Mock.
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