In front of the cameras, he is probably best known as Bill S. Preston, Esq., but behind the camera Alex Winter is starting to earn a name for himself as a director of both television and now documentaries. His previous two films – Downloaded and Deep Web – explored various aspects of the internet and internet culture. But his new project fins him in different territory, as he will be examining the life and work of iconic musician Frank Zappa.
Winter is currently developing the as yet untitled film with the backing of the Zappa Family Trust for a possible 2017 release.
As per Variety, Winter states –
There has yet to be a definitive, authorized documentary on the extraordinary life and work of Frank Zappa. 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 fact that Winter is saying that they are using “Frank’s own words” for the documentary opens up some speculation for me. Are they using old interviews, perhaps some previously released recordings that the family is making available for the project? Could they be using Zappa’s 1989 memoirs The Real Frank Zappa Book as the basis? As a Zappa fan, I am excited to find out the answer.
For many, Frank Zappa was the slightly odd rock musician whose work never really gained popular acceptance outside of a few novelty hits like “Valley Girl.” But among musicians, he was known as a virtuoso guitarist and a composer of avant-garde jazz and classical music. He also was one of the first to embrace the possibilities of electronic synthesizers like the Synclavier. Additionally, he was also an outspoken critic of the music industry and attempts to censor the arts. He died in 1993 at the far too early age of 52 from prostate cancer.