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Production Begins on New Mark Farner Documentary, 'I’m Your Captain'

Flagday Productions has announced that production has begun on a documentary that will chronicle the life, successes and struggles of Mark Farner, a founding member of Grand Funk Railroad.

The film project, dubbed I’m Your Captain: The Mark Farner Story, is inspired by the life of a man who reached stardom in his 20s, dominated the charts for 10 years, became an advocate for Native American issues, military veterans and the rights of American workers and, along the way, became a husband (married 34 years), inventor and father.

In 1971, Farner and Grand Funk Railroad broke The Beatles' record for the fastest ticket sell-out (72 hours) at New York’s Shea Stadium. The band sold millions of albums, releasing 13 full-lengths between 1969 and 1983 and recording several hits, including “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)," “The Loco-Motion," “Some Kind of Wonderful," “Bad Time," “Heartbreaker,” “Foot Stompin’ Music” and “We’re an American Band.”

In 2010, Farner’s youngest son, Jesse, became quadriplegic after an accident. That instant refocused Farner’s passion and energy to ignite his music career, and along with wife Lesia, has launched a crusade to care and provide for his son.

This touching and ironic twist in the life of a man who’s had almost everything gives dramatic perspective and depth to the film and transforms what could have been just another rock and roll retrospective into a rich exploration of circumstances that any of us may encounter in life.

Award-winning film maker and director Vincent Straggas will weave Farner’s story using archival and new performance footage, interviews with Farner, his family, friends, former band mates and others, along with cinema verite footage of the Farner’s as they manage their day-to-day lives both at home and on the road.

“This is a rich story - this is not your typical rockumentary," Straggas stresses, “I didn’t want to produce that kind of movie. This is a story about a man that has many layers. Once I heard Mark’s story I knew I had to make this film. It’s about his family, and his fans and the people he touches all over the world. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised and inspired by this film. Mark proves that passion is ageless, the director wagers, put any kid up against him and my money’s on Mark.”

Release details will be forthcoming, but a September 2013 date has been tentatively set to commemorate Farner’s 65th birthday and more than 40 years as a professional musician. I’m Your Captain: The Mark Farner Story will be a feature length film and released theatrically, showing at film festivals worldwide prior to airing on PBS nationwide.

For more information, visit markfarnermovie.com and markfarner.com.

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Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor, and his non-Pulitzer-Prize-winning stories have appeared in Guitar Aficionado, Vintage Guitar, Total Guitar and countless other publications, including 13.7 metric tons of daily newspapers. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton and Ty Tabor chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (one of which appears in the 2015 Disney film 'Tomorrowland' starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson). He's in two NYC-area bands and plays Teles with four-way switches, B-benders and semi-snazzy aftermarket pickups. He quotes Terry-Thomas twice daily.