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Bill and Ted’s Alex Winter to direct Frank Zappa doc

frank zappa documentary produced by alex winter
Heinrich Klaffs /

In 2017, celebrated musician/composer/producer Frank Zappa will have his own authorized documentary to accompany his extensive body of work.

Alex Winter, best known as Bill Preston in the Bill & Ted series, but also a director in his own right (Smosh: The Movie, Deep Web, Downloaded), will direct, and produce the film with Glen Zipper. As Winter has the Zappa Family Trust’s permission, the doc will feature previously unreleased video and audio recordings as well as a collection of previously released video, interviews, and concert footage.

While Winter has the material for a traditional music doc, he told The Hollywood Reporter that this is not his intention for the film. Winter said he plans to make “an epic saga of a great American artist and thinker, a major event worthy of the scope of Zappa’s prodigious and varied creative output, and the breadth of his personal and political life.”

Considering Zappa released over 65 albums, made several films, and left behind four children after his untimely death at the age of 52, Winter will have more than enough material and firsthand interviews to work with.

But Winter claims it’s Zappa himself who will take us through the halls of his prolific, if short, career and personal life. “Our tale will be told primarily in Frank’s own words,” explained Winter. “He will be our guide through this journey.”

While best known as a rock ‘n roll pioneer, Zappa also composed jazz, orchestral, and classical works, and was one of the most prolific artists of his time. He’s also known for his stance against artistic censorship.

Winter will have the wholehearted support of the Zappa family in creating the doc. “We couldn’t be happier to be working with Alex, an extraordinary filmmaker in his own right,” said Zappa’s widow Gail Zappa in a statement. With an advanced degree in Perfect Timing and a shared respect for ‘conceptual continuity,’ we feel it is our duty. We also like his attitudinal position — gravity and humor go a long way with us.”

“This is not an easy story to tell,” added Zappa’s son Ahmet Zappa, “and we trust that Alex truly understands the complex and multi-faceted man that my father was.”

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