Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Frieda Lee Mock knows how to make a doc

Films present big issues on an intimate level

Express Staff Writer

Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Frieda Lee Mock will present two films at the Magic Lantern Cinema?s Fall Film Festival.

Documentary filmmaker and part-time Sun Valley resident Frieda Lee Mock will present her Academy Award-winning documentary film, "Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision," during the Magic Lanterns's 18th annual Fall Film Festival in Ketchum on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m.

In addition, Mock will screen her most recent documentary film, "Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner," on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. All proceeds from both films will benefit the Community Library in Ketchum.

"I'm very happy that (library Executive Director) Colleen Daly wanted to do this," Mock said. "I am thrilled to be doing something for the Community Library."

Mock is known for taking large societal issues such as war, race and activism and making them intimate and understandable to her audiences.

"Ideally the public will be entertained and engaged, and hopefully walk away with a great response," Mock said.

Although "Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision" was produced ten years ago, the film has a great deal of resonance today. At 21 years old, Lynn designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"For people in Idaho, they can see and understand how an artist deals with major ideas," Mock said. "She dealt with some of the biggest issues of our time¾war and race¾which was the impulse that got me interested in her."

Today Lynn is creating another large public art project along 400 miles of the Columbia River in Washington as a memorial to Lewis and Clark and their interaction with Native Americans over 200 years ago.

"The two big ideas of war and race in the film ultimately look at her life's work in a ten-year period," Mock said. "From the ages of 20 to 30, you see a young artist and designer begin her professional journey. It is an interesting time to look at Maya. The public can really appreciate her place in art and her environmental sensitivity."

Mock's "Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner" takes an up-close and personal look at the award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, whose creativity and compassion allowed him to become a prolific activist for outsiders and one of the most important playwrights of modern times.

"The timing to show this in Idaho is amazing," Mock said, referring to the controversy swirling around Sen. Larry Craig. "It's a story about playwriting and the struggle with his father and his sexuality."

Mock said Kushner stunned the theater world with his new voice and fresh approach. She said he is a talented and witty writer whose humor is a large part of his personality.

"I started the Tony Kushner film five years back," Mock said. "It's a companion and bookend to the Maya Lynn film about really important voices in our time and the 21st century."

Mock said she loves making documentary films because it allows her to engage audiences on controversial subjects in great depth.

"Documentary filmmaking is fun and rewarding," she said. "If you are lucky, people will like what you do. It is a very interesting medium and at the heart of it, it is story telling about real people."

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