• Zappa

  • Alex Winter, Mike J. Nichols, Sarah Cahill

Alex Winter and Sarah Cahill in Conversation

In conjunction with BAMPFA’s streaming presentation of Zappa, join us for a live conversation and Q&A with the director Alex Winter; Mike J. Nichols, who edited the film; and pianist Sarah Cahill.

Alex Winter is a producer, director, and actor who entered show business as a child actor with costarring roles on Broadway in The King & I and Peter Pan and is best known for his performances in the movies The Lost Boys and the beloved Bill & Ted franchise. Winter is the founder of Trouper Productions and has directed numerous documentaries including Showbiz Kids (2020), Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain (2019), The Panama Papers (2019, executive produced by Laura Poitras), Deep Web (2015), and Downloaded (2012). His short documentaries Relatively Free and Trump’s Lobby were commissions for Field of Vision. Winter’s narrative features include the cult classic Freaked and Fever, which was an official selection in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes.

As a midwestern teenager, Mike J. Nichols made Super-8 films that caught the attention of Frank Zappa’s son, Dweezil, who commissioned him for projects including design work on the television series Normal Life. With the Zappa family’s encouragement, Mike pursued film studies at Columbia College of Chicago, and later became known for his project Star Wars: The Phantom Edit. Since then Nichols has worked as a producer, writer, and editor for film and television; along with Zappa, his credits include the Emmy Award–winning Vito: The Vito Russo Story, United States of Insanity, and Echo in the Canyon. Nichols’s latest project is the award-winning short film World Premiere Video, which he wrote and directed.

Dubbed “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by the New York Times and “a brilliant and charismatic advocate for modern and contemporary composers” by Time Out New York, Sarah Cahill has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. She is founder of the annual Garden of Memory concert at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, and host of the weekly radio show Revolutions Per Minute on KALW. Cahill was music critic for the East Bay Express and other alternative weeklies for twenty years and is considered one of the architects of the new music scene in the Bay Area. Cahill teaches twentieth-century keyboard literature at the San Francisco Conservatory and has contributed to several books including The John Adams Reader and Critical Essays on Galway Kinnell.