Frank Zappa Documentary Gets Green Light from His Estate

A new documentary about Frank Zappa has received approval from the Zappa Family Trust.

The film is presently in its early stages of development and is scheduled to come out in 2017, according to Variety.

The documentary is being directed by Alex Winter. Best known for his role as Bill S. Preston, Esq. in the Bill & Ted movies, Winter now creates tech-based documentaries, with credits that include Downloaded, Deep Web and the newly released Smosh: The Movie.

“There has yet to be a definitive, authorized documentary on the extraordinary life and work of Frank Zappa,” Winter says. “I am beyond thrilled to be embarking on this journey. Our tale will be told primarily in Frank’s own words; he will be our guide through this journey.”

The Zappa film will be based on Winter’s script and will encompass the many aspects of Zappa’s life and music.

“This is not an easy story to tell,” notes Ahmet Zappa, “and we trust that Alex truly understands the complex and multifaceted man that my father was.”

Zappa, who died in December 1993 of prostate cancer, explored a remarkable range of music in his life, including pop, rock and classical. His guitar-centric albums of the Eighties—including the Shut Up ’N Play Yer Guitar series and 1988’s Guitar—remain favorites of many players and serve as prime examples of Zappa’s remarkable improvisational skills on the instrument.

Overseen by Zappa’s wife, Gail, the Zappa Family Trust has managed the release of his recordings since his death, and holds the title and copyright to his musical and artistic products, as well as his commercial image.

As for how Zappa might have wanted to be remembered, he offered a clue in his 1993 interview with NBC’s Today Show when asked the question.

“It’s not important,” he said. “The people who worry about being remembered are guys like Reagan, Bush. These people want to be remembered, and they’ll spend a lot of money and do a lot of work to make sure that remembrance is just terrific. I don’t care.”

The full interview is shown below.

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Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.