Alex Winter’s Frank Zappa doc sets Kickstarter record

The actor-turned-director's film about the late avant-garde rocker has crowdfunded more than US$930,000 of its $1 million goal, making it Kickstarter's most-funded documentary to date.
April 7, 2016

A film about late avant-garde rock musician Frank Zappa has become Kickstarter’s most-funded documentary.

Director Alex Winter‘s Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa has raised US$937,128 from 6,993 backers on the crowdfunding platform as of press time. The campaign ends on Friday (April 8) and has a goal of $1 million.

That’s enough to top the previous documentary record held by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg’s Bill Nye doc, Objective: Change the World.

That film raised $859,425 from 16,850 backers last August. It will screen as a work-in-progress at the Tribeca Film Festival next week and then head to the Hot Docs Forum in May to drum up more financing.

Winter is directing the Zappa project with backing from the Zappa Family Trust. In his Kickstarter pitch video, the Lost Boys actor-turned docmaker explains that the family has granted him full access to unreleased material from Zappa’s private vault.

“We’re allowed to use everything in here,” he said. “But before we can do that we have to find out what’s here, digitize it and make sure that it’s in a form that we can use.”

Pledge rewards include swag such as T-shirts as well as a chance to play Zappa’s guitar in his recording studio, associate producer and exec producer credits and – for a backer with $9 million to spare – Zappa’s 9-bedroom house in the Hollywood Hills, which includes his vault, a tennis court and swimming pool.

Winter also intends to release new recordings and create a collector’s book to accompany the doc.

Zappa, who died of prostate cancer at age 52 in 1993, is a popular documentary subject of late.

German director Thorsten Schütte’s Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and looks at Zappa’s life and philosophies entirely through archival TV interviews and appearances. Sony Pictures Classic has picked up worldwide rights to the film, excluding France and Germany.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.