Zappa (movie)

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The official poster.

Zappa is a 2020 documentary film about Frank Zappa and his work, directed by Alex Winter. The film is distributed by Magnolia Pictures. [1]


In July 2015 Winter began work on a biographical documentary about Frank Zappa, named Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa?. Winter explained he was captivated by Zappa's "wit, politics and wild imagination" before being drawn by the genius of his music. [2] "I have always been drawn to telling the stories of great, challenging Americans. These are people who changed the world around them without being easily defined or constrained; people who break the rules with purpose, ideology and vision; people like Frank."[3] The documentary is made with full support of the Zappa Family Trust and Winter will have access to all content of The Vault, though Winter has complete editorial freedom [4]. To fund his project and the necessary categorisation, digitalisation and preservation of all audio and video footage in the archives he started a kickstarter project in March 2016. The film was eventually retitled and released as Zappa in 2020.

Winter has also mentioned using Zappa Wiki Jawaka as a source: "This isn't my own research — all these great quotes from Nando are from off the extremely robust Zappa Wiki Jawaka, which I thoroughly enjoy." [5]

Alex Winter in The Vault.

Among the first people Winter conducted interviews with was Gail Zappa, who was terminally ill with cancer[6]. Before her passing plans had already been made to sell Zappa's house. As Winter explained it:

"Before we launched our campaign, the Zappa family was already planning to sell the house. So, they have been planning for months to move the contents of the Vault into a new space, along with other things from the house — the recording equipment from the UMRK, for example. And that’s still the plan. When the Zappas told me the house was going to be put on the market, we all felt that it would really be a great gesture to offer the fans a first crack at owning it, before it was publicly available. And when they told me the Vault and all Frank's possessions were being finally after decades moved from their natural habitat, I thought, oh shit, we need to launch this project NOW — the last point at which it'll all be just as Frank left it." [7]

In March 2016 Winter set up a Kickstarter fund to preserve the fragile material in Zappa's vault and use certain footage to make the documentary. [8]

Among those who made promo videos to support the kickstarter were Ahmet Zappa, Dweezil Zappa, Scott Thunes, Cal Schenkel, Bruce Bickford and Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves. [9] The Kickstarter was a success. Within a month, on 8 April 2016, it became the highest funded documentary in crowdfunding history. [10]

The Zappa Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released with the film. The photograph of Zappa used for the poster and the soundtrack's cover was by Bill Gubbins.



A trailer was released on 28 October 2020. [11] The film premiered on 27 November 2020. [12]

The documentary is nominated for a Critics Choice Award. [13]


External links