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Freida Lee Mock at the Sundance Film Festival

Freida Lee Mock is an American filmmaker, director, screenwriter and producer. She is a co-founder of the American Film Foundation with Terry Sanders. Her documentary, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994) won an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 1995.[1]


Mock is the Chair of the Documentary Executive Committee and was the first Governor of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her "cabal" of a small number of followers essentially hijacked the Oscar documentary nominating process, voting zeros for other films, and "10" for Mock's favorites, resulting in her film "A Strong Clear Vision" winning the Oscar for Best Documentary. The resulting outrage when the enormously successful and acclaimed film "Hoop Dreams" failed to even get nominated led to an overhaul in the Oscar Best Documentary nominating and voting process.[2]

She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied both History and Law.


Mock directed a documentary Anita, about Anita Hill, which will premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. She has directed the documentaries G-Dog (2012), Sing China! (2009), Wrestling With Angels (2006) (which screened again on the TV show P.O.V. in 2007) a documentary feature about playwright Tony Kushner, Bird by Bird with Anne (1999) (which screened again on the PBS TV show Independent Lens in 2003) about author Anne Lamott, Return with Honor (1998) (which screened again on the TV show The American Experience in 2000), Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994), and the documentary shorts Lt. Watada (2011), Sing! (2001) (about a Los Angeles community children's choir and which was also an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Short Film in 2002), and various episodes of the TV show Screenwriters: Words Into Image in 1982, including episodes on the screenwriters Robert Towne, Carl Foreman, Neil Simon, Eleanor Perry, Paul Mazursky and William Goldman, all done in 1982 (the series was also a prime-time Emmy Award nominee for Best Series). Also, she directed a documentary called Anita. This film shows the life of Anita Hill and what she went through when dealing with sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas


Mock's production credits include many of the documentaries she directed, such as Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, Sing!, Bird by Bird with Annie, Wrestling With Angels, G-Dog, Lt. Watada, Sing China! and Return with Honor, which was also presented by Tom Hanks.

Early in her career, Mock produced episodes of the TV show National Geographic Specials and Untamed Frontier. She has also produced the documentaries Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember (Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Short in 1991), To Live or Let Die (Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Short), and Never Give Up: The 20th Century Odyssey of Herbert Zipper about Vienna-born composer and musician Herbert Zipper that was also an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Short in 1996. She also produced the documentaries Lillian Gish: The Actor's Life for Me (which won a prime-time Emmy Award for Outstanding Information Special in 1989).

Mock produced "The Kennedy Center Honors" biographies, which honors individuals for lifetime achievement in the performing arts -- Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, Katherine Dunham, Virgil Thomson, Elia Kazan and others (the series was also a Prime-time Emmy Award Winner for Best Variety Special).

Mock recently produced the documentary Enterprising Women, celebrating two and a half centuries of entrepreneurial women in America.

Awards and accoladesEdit

Mock has received an Academy Award (for her film Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision), five Academy Award nominations (for films she either directed or produced), two prime-time Emmy Awards, and three prime-time Emmy Award nominations. The Maya Lin award was mired in controversy as Hoop Dreams was passed over because several documentary filmmakers conspired to leave it off of the nomination ballot. Film critic Roger Ebert also suggested that the nomination of Maya Lin stemmed from cronyism, since Mock was the chair of the committee which makes the nominations, though she stepped aside for the year that Maya Lin was under consideration.[3]

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.

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ Frieda Lee Mock, Biography, American Film Foundation,
  2. ^ Hoop Dreams causes change at the Oscars
  3. ^ "The Brady Bunch Movie, Just Cause, Billy Madison, Mr. Payback, 1995". Siskel and Ebert Movie Reviews. Retrieved 28 July 2019. Event occurs at 18:15-19:07.

External linksEdit