The documentary “Zappa” is set to come out via Magnolia Pictures on November 27 just in time for Thanksgiving weekend. In anticipation of the release, Rolling Stone premiered the latest trailer for the film today.
“Zappa” is directed by Alex Winter (of Bill & Ted). It is a long in the works film and the first documentary on bizarre singer songwriter Frank Zappa to be met with the approval and cooperation of the Zappa estate. It features tons of never seen before home movies, interviews and live footage. It explores Zappa’s personal and professional life including his political stances, his battles with the PMRC and his attempts to run for president.
The movie includes appearances by Zappa’s widow Gail as well as musical collaborators and friends Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and more.
“Alex Winter has created an amazing documentary,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “Zappa is an incredibly nuanced and compelling look at the visionary iconoclast and the environment that formed him.”
Winter, a former child actor who helmed the recent docu Showbiz Kids added, “This is the most ambitious project I’ve ever worked on, with a couple years of archival preservation in addition to several years to make the film itself. This isn’t your typical music doc but rather a multi-faceted narrative that aims to bring this complex artist to life. Magnolia, with its long and distinguished history of platforming great cinema, is the perfect home for Zappa.”
Winter also gets production credit for the film alongside Glen Zipper, Ahmet Zappa, John Frizzell, Devorah DeVries and Jade Allen. Robert Halmi and Jim Reeve of Great Point Media are named as executive producers.
Ahmet Zappa, Frank’s son, had this to say about his role in the film. “I'm thrilled Magnolia is bringing the ZAPPA movie to the world. This emotional journey began with my mother’s belief in Alex Winter and he’s made an extraordinary film. I’m so grateful to the fans who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign. Their support was invaluable as is our partnership with UMG. I feel in my heart Frank and Gail would be so proud of the documentary and I can’t wait for everyone to see it!”
Zappa was a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer. He was known for his musical virtuosity and his satire of American culture. During his 30 year plus career, he composed over sixty albums of music that integrated elements of jazz, rock, pop, fusion and classical.
He may have summed up his image best in a voiceover in the documentary where he says “We were loud, we were coarse, and we were strange.”
Zappa died of prostate cancer in 1993, just days before his 53rd birthday. After his death, he was hailed as a genius and won several posthumous honors and awards. He was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. He won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. He ranked as number 36 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock in 2000. In 2004, Rolling Stone listed him as number 71 on their “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and as number 22 on their “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” in 2011.
Zappa will release on November 27 and will be viewable in theaters and on demand.