With unfettered access to the Zappa family’s vault, Alex Winter’s Zappa explores the mammoth career of legendary Frank Zappa. He’s been called a rock iconoclast and a guitar god, but Frank Zappa was also a composer whose music defied categorization.  With archival footage, Zappa explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. Alex Winter’s assembly features appearances by Frank’s 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.

The film traces Zappa’s path – from his teenage days as a self-taught musician, to his death in 1993.  There’s his formation (and breakup) of the Mothers of Invention band, his “Valley Girl” hit with daughter Moon Unit (who only did it in order to spend more time with her father),  his recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as his stance on drugs, his comments about groupies and the clap, et al.

Zappa was also one of the few musicians to speak out against the album warning labels proposed by Parents Music Resource Center. Along with never-before-seen archival footage, the film features interviews with Zappa’s widow Gail Zappa, who died in 2015, and several of Zappa’s musical collaborators, including Zappa’s former “stunt guitarists” Mike Keneally and Steve Vai, Mothers of Invention members Ian Underwood, Ruth Underwood and Bunk Gardner, GTOs member Pamela Des Barres, and Zappa’s bass player Scott Thunes.


The film is directed by Alex Winter, who raised funds to preserve a lot of the vault’s material that was deteriorating, and thus in danger of being lost forever.  As an actor, Winter is popularly known as “Bill” from the Bill & Ted movies.  As a director, he’s made the award-winning documentaries Deep Web and The Panama Papers.

ZAPPA is available November 27 on the Apple TV app and everywhere you rent movies!

The film also opens in select theatres: November 27 in Ottawa, Waterloo and Montreal, November 28 in Vancouver, and throughout the fall in other cities.

Zappa is being released in Canada by Mongrel Media.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.