bird by bird with annie

in her own words
Filmmaker Q & A

Freida Lee Mock discusses why she chose Annie, how not to invade her subject's privacy and what keeps her motivated.

Why did you make this film?

Writer Anne Lamott with Director Freida Lee Mock and cinematographers Eric Daarstad and Terry Sanders.
Writer Anne Lamott with Director Freida Lee Mock and cinematographers Eric Daarstad and Terry Sanders.
When I first heard Annie speak, giving the closing address at the Sun Valley Writer's Conference to about 500 people, I was struck by her raucous humor, which was not ego-driven, and by her story of survival. I immediately felt she would make a very charismatic subject for a film about writing and surviving, with a lot of humor.

How did you balance the needs of “getting the story” and having full access with respect for Anne Lamott’s need for privacy?

I asked Annie to keep me informed about important events in her life, such as her popular class on writing at the Book Passage bookstore, the fundraiser for her church where she would read and her officiating at her friend Steve Barclay's wedding. As a filmmaker I hope to be sensitive to what's “appropriate” to the person, the public figure and the private one so I believe I develop a sixth sense of not to “invade a person's private zone.”

What do you hope to achieve with this film?

I hope viewers have a great time and will gain some insight into themselves about humor, life, writing, creativity, artistry, spirituality, acceptance, diversity, lifestyles and surviving.

If Anne Lamott’s life story were made into a feature film, which actor would you choose to play her?

As it turns out her book Operating Instructions has been optioned. I think Reese Witherspoon would be great!

The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated?

When I find a story or subject that's engaging, I develop that “fatal attraction” to the project to develop, persist and to finish what I hope will be a great experience for the audience, and for me.

If you weren’t a filmmaker, what kind of work do you think you’d be doing?

Civil rights law.

If you could have dinner with one famous person, living or dead, who would you choose?


What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?

Carpe Diem - seize the moment and just do it....

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