eat that question zappaToday’s Sundance doc previews wrap up: EAT THAT QUESTION – FRANK ZAPPA IN HIS OWN WORDS, Thorsten Schütte’s revealing look at the outspoken musician.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

It is only fitting that a comet and a mollusk are named in Frank Zappa’s honor. The famed American musician, composer, and thinker created satirical, operatic interpretations of music that seemed to originate from another world. 

Thorsten Schütte’s film is a sharply edited and energetic celebration of Zappa through his public persona, allowing us to witness his shifting relationship with audiences. Utilizing potent TV interviews and many forgotten performances from his 30-year career, we are immersed into the musician’s world while experiencing two distinct facets of his complex character. At once Zappa was both a charismatic composer who reveled in the joy of performing and, in the next moment, a fiercely intelligent and brutally honest interviewee whose convictions only got stronger as his career ascended. 

Zappa was uncompromising as he led the charge against music censorship in the ’90s and even went on to embrace the role of quasi-cultural ambassador in the Czech Republic. His music and ideas are vital, and they cut across generations, while his goal of freeing the listener from conformity still resonates today.

Some Background:
Director: Thorsten Schütte
Schütte is head of the Fiction and Documentary Department at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. His previous nonfiction has appeared at IDFA and the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival. This is his first documentary to screen at Sundance.

Producer: Estelle Fialon; Co-Producer: Jochen Laube

Fialon, from Les Films du Poisson, is also the producer of this year’s THE SETTLERS, and previously produced the Academy Award-nominated Sundance alum THE GATEKEEPERS (2013).

This is Laube’s first film to screen in Park City. He has previously produced work that has appeared at Berlin, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, Rotterdam, and Busan, among other notable festivals.

Editor: Willibald Wonneberger
Wonneberger is a recent graduate of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, and is making his debut at the festival with this project.

Why You Should Watch:
Cleverly drawing almost entirely from interviews, Schütte deftly constructs a portrait of the musician in the public eye. While ostensibly meant to be fluffy promotion for the most part, with Zappa involved, these exchanges became so much more interesting – and, when confronting concerns like music censorship, downright confrontational.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2016 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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