Catonsville resident co-produces Beatles film at Maryland Film Festival

Beatles fans in the Baltimore area will have an opportunity to see the history of the Fab Four through an insider's eyes this week.

"Good Ol' Freda" chronicles the life and experiences of the Beatles' secretary and fan club manager, Freda Kelly.

The movie will be screened twice at the Maryland Film Festival this weekend.

Catonsville resident, and Kelly's close friend, Kathy McCabe, was one of the film's three producers.

McCabe said a series of events that began with a simple letter across the ocean led her to meet Kelly almost 40 years ago.

It began when she wrote a request for a pen pal in Liverpool to Beatles Monthly, a fan magazine of which Kelly was in charge.

Liverpool resident Robbie Malloy chose McCabe's name and the two became pen pals.

Then fate stepped in.

"Freda had that page (for pen pal requests), and Robbie picked my name, and his sister knew Freda and his sister's husband knew the Beatles. It was serendipitous," McCabe said.

McCabe said Kelly was always private about her association with the Beatles. But on one of her visits to the states about five years ago, McCabe asked Kelly to give a private talk about her experiences.

"She was supposed to speak one hour and it went on to four with people asking questions," McCabe said of the talk, which took place in her Catonsville home.

"People were just so interested in what she had to say. She couldn't believe anybody would be interested in this stuff. She's a very humble woman," she said.

McCabe, whose nephew, Ryan White, is a filmmaker who directed "Good Ol' Freda," asked Kelly if she would be willing to make a film about her life.

"The overarching thing about the film is Freda's life and how, as a shy 17-year-old, she was picked by Brian Epstein, who managed the become his secretary and secretary to the Beatles," McCabe said.

"And how it was her dream how and how literally she rose to the occasion and never let any of them down," she said.

"In Beatles' world, she was kind of legendary, because she was part of the inner circle," McCabe said. "Which is a word she hates."

The film premiered at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, March 9, and has received favorable reviews and a lot of attention since.

McCabe is thrilled to show the film for the first time in her hometown.

"That's the best of it," McCabe said. "Bring it to our hometown so our friends and relatives can see it, those are the most important screenings to me. As important as the world premiere."

The film will screen Thursday, May 9, at 5 p.m. at the Charles Theater on North Charles Street and Sunday May 1,2 at noon at the MICA Brown Center on Mount Royal Avenue.

Tickets are $10.

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