Frank Zappa Documentary ‘Zappa’ Set For SXSW Premiere

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Alex Winter’s long-awaited Frank Zappa documentary film, Zappa, will premiere at this year’s South By South West (SXSW) Film Festival. The 2020 SXSW Film Festival will be held March 13 – 21 in Austin, Texas.

Winter announced the project in 2016, launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding. The filmmaker and actor — best known for portraying Bill in the Bill & Ted movie franchise — worked on the Zappa documentary with the assistance of the Zappa Family Trust. Archival footage of Frank Zappa, who died in 1993 at age 52, as well as appearances by his widow Gail Zappa and several of Frank’s musical collaborators including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and others.

“Zappa was an extremely complicated and brilliant man who had as many detractors as he had fans,” Winter told Rolling Stone. “I hope that our audience finds him as captivating and significant an American artist as I do … It’s not your standard album-to-album music doc. It’s really an in-depth examination of an artist’s life, using mostly Zappa’s own words and media from his personal archives. The film is filled with surprises for fans, but I think they will be most struck by the intimacy and a real sense of who Zappa actually was.”

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“Alex had unfettered access to everything in our vault and total creative freedom to make this movie, unlike other filmmakers,” Zappa Family Trust head Ahmet Zappa told Rolling Stone. “This film is by far the most intimate and expansive look into the innovative life of Frank Zappa, narrated by Frank in his own words. It’s quite unbelievable what Alex has achieved. This is the definitive Frank Zappa documentary.”