FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK Documentary

FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK Documentary

AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY “FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK” DIRECTED BY BOBBI JO HART IS SET FOR ITS BROADCAST PREMIERE AND STREAMING LAUNCH STARTING MAY 22 ON PBS, PBS.ORGAND THE PBS APP  

Groundbreaking All-Female Rock Band – Fanny, Hailed as the “Female Beatles”, are Celebrated in this Joyous Film Featuring Interviews with Musicians Including Bonnie Raitt, Todd Rundgren, Kathy Valentine, John Sebastian, Cherie Currie, Charles Neville, Kate Pierson and More.   

In Honor of the May 22 Premiere, the Film will Screen at LA’s Grammy Museum on May 16 & Fanny bandmates will Reunite on Stage for a 50th Anniversary Concert
at the Famed Whisky A-Go-Go Nightclub on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles on May 17

April 28, 2023 – Los Angeles, CA – The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and PBS announced  the May 22nd broadcast premiere and streaming launch for the critically-acclaimed documentary FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK. The film, directed by Bobbi Jo Hart and winner of the coveted Hot Docs Audience Choice Award, chronicles the life and revival of this groundbreaking all-female rock group in 1970s America, revealing the fascinating untold story of a phenomenal band that were dubbed the “female Beatles”. FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK will premiere on PBS nationally Monday, May 22, 10 p.m. ET, and stream on PBS.org and the PBS App. 

Sometime in the late 1960s, in sunny Sacramento, two Filipina American sisters got together with other teenage girls to play music.  Little did they know their garage band would evolve into the groundbreaking rock group Fanny, the first all-women band to release an LP with a major record label (Warner/Reprise w/ Grammy winning producer Richard Perry).  Yet, despite releasing five critically acclaimed albums over five years, touring with famed bands from SLADE to CHICAGO and amassing a dedicated fan base of music legends including David Bowie, Fanny’s groundbreaking impact in music was written out of history…until now. 

With incredible archival footage of the band’s rocking past, intercut with its revival with a new rock record deal, the film includes interviews with a large cadre of music icons, including Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, Bonnie Raitt, The Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine, Todd Rundgren, The Runaways’ Cherie Currie, Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian, The B-52s’ Kate Pierson, Charles Neville and David Bowie guitarist and bassist Earl Slick and Gail Ann Dorsey. Fighting early barriers of race, gender and sexuality in the music industry, and now ageism, the incredible women of Fanny are ready to claim their hallowed place in the halls of rock ‘n’ roll fame.

Leading up to the May 22 PBS premiere, a series of special events with Fanny will be taking place in Los Angeles and across California.  The highlight event will feature the reunion of Fanny bandmates at the famed Whisky A Go-Go nightclub on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles for a 50th Anniversary concert on May 17.  Special guests will join bandmates June Millington, Jean Millington, Brie Darling, Alice de Buhr and Patti Quatro on stage for this special night. 

The night before on May 16, the Grammy Museum will host an exclusive screening of the film in the Clive Davis Theater, followed by a Q/A discussion with filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart and Fanny bandmates. 

The 50th anniversary concert at Whisky A Go-Go is made possible in part with support from AARP.

On May 22 through the film FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK, audiences will discover one of the most important rock groups you’ve never heard of, until now and Fanny will be revivified!

FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK will premiere in May during Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, along with a new AMERICAN MASTERS film “Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV” premiering May 16, at 9 p.m. ET.  Throughout May, PBS will also encore other great films that shine a light on AAPI experiences and filmmakers including RISING AGAINST ASIAN HATE, INDEPENDENT LENS “Free Chol Soo Lee”, INDEPENDENT LENS “Hidden Letters”, AMERICAN MASTERS “Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha”, AMERICAN MASTERS “Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir”, INDEPENDENT LENS “The Donut King” and additional titles streaming on PBS.org.

Dennis Harvey of VARIETY hailed the film in his review writing: “FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK remains thoroughly engaging thanks to the demonstrable talent and brassy forthrightness of its central personalities. There’s no whiff of “nostalgia act” to their current music — these women are born rock lifers who clearly never stopped evolving creatively, even if the hoped-for commercial rewards never quite arrived.

In the December 1999 Millennial issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, David Bowie hailed Fanny: “One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without trace:  Fanny. They were one of the finest rock bands of their time…  They’re as important as anybody else who’s ever been, ever….  Revivify Fanny.  And I will feel that my work is done.”

 

 

FILM REVIEWS

“Fanny: The Right to Rock” remains thoroughly engaging thanks to the demonstrable talent and brassy forthrightness of its central personalities. There’s no whiff of “nostalgia act” to their current music — these women are born rock lifers who clearly never stopped evolving creatively, even if the hoped-for commercial rewards never quite arrived.”

Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Intense hard rock. Searing guitar solos. Serious strutting on stage with no sexual posturing. These aren’t things you often associate with female musicians. So props to Bobbi Jo Hart, whose documentary Fanny: The Right to Rock puts the spotlight on the groundbreaking all-women rock group that too few people have ever heard of. Credit racism, sexism and homophobia to consigning this outfit of excellent musicians, the first women’s band to secure a record deal with a major label, to near oblivion.”
Susan G. Cole, POV Magazine

“Hart’s wonderful uncovering of this exhilarating piece of queer/Filipino/female/music history was way past due and makes for such compelling viewing.”
Roger Walker-Dack, Queerguru

“Hart’s film pays overdue tribute to Fanny. This affectionate documentary should garner the band a whole new set of fans….”  
Gary M. Kramer, Gay City News

“Hart’s uncovering of this exhilarating piece of queer/Filipino/female/music history is way past due and makes for compelling viewing.”
Roger Walker-Dack, Edge Media Network

“An illuminating documentary on the sexism, racism, ageism and homophobia that confronted members of Fanny, which many consider the first all-female rock band.”
Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“Bobbi Jo Hart’s energetic documentary shines a light on one of the greatest, most forgotten all-female rock bands in music history.” 
Sydney Urbanek, The Spool

“If you’re a fan of music, true stories, or just girls rocking out, I recommend giving “Fanny: The Right to Rock is a glorious love letter to a band that should’ve had a lot more fame and hits than they were handed. It’s a powerful spotlight that’s shone directly on a band that could’ve been swept under the rug by the passing of time.”
Lee Butler, Movie Meister Reviews

“A terrific and eye-opening documentary and an amendment to misconceptions.”
John Doyle, The Globe and Mail

“Fanny: The Right to Rock is essential viewing for every student of rock history, not to mention feminism.”
Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle

“I am honored to celebrate the untold story of Fanny’s vital – yet buried – contributions to Rock & Roll with the public,” says the award-winning director Bobbi Jo Hart. “Just like Sister Rosetta Tharpe inspired ELVIS, Fanny shattered the glass ceiling of the genre to lay crucial groundwork for future bands of women to succeed, from The Runaways to The Go Go’s, and continue to do so today. Fanny deserves nothing less than to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2024.” 

WHO

About FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK
The film is written and directed by Bobbi Jo Hart and co-produced by Bobbi Jo Hart and Robbie Hart. Executive producers include Katherine Buck, Bobbi Jo Hart, Anne Pick, Catherine Bainbridge, Ina Fichman, Randy Lennox and Glen Salzman. Director of Photography is Claire Sanford. Editor is Catherine Legault. Music by Fanny. Original music & sound mix by Daniel Toussaint. Online post-production by Digital Cut.

About Director Bobbi Jo Hart
Bobbi Jo Hart is an award winning American/Canadian documentary filmmaker with Adobe Productions International, based in Montreal, Canada. With a career that has spanned 25 years, Hart has filmed in countries as diverse as Pakistan, Russia, Guatemala, Australia, Scotland, and Zimbabwe — with subjects ranging from women’s professional soccer and tennis to classical music, comedy, dance and manic depression. Her documentary films have the most common thread of revealing untold stories of marginalized girls and women, weaving universal threads of dreams, family, love, loss, happiness, sadness, success, failure, and determination. Her intimate, cinema verité style results in thought-provoking films that ultimately celebrate our shared humanity.

Prior to FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK, her previous feature documentaries REBELS ON POINTE and I AM NOT A ROCK STAR premiered at dozens of worldwide film festivals and were broadcast on networks in many countries, including BBCFour, SVT Sweden, ABC Australia, Documentary Channel. Both films won many festival awards as well. Hart’s previous award-winning films include SHE GOT GAME: Behind-the-Scenes of the Women’s Tennis Tour (LIFE Network, Starz), which had exclusive access during over a year on tour.  

About FANNY
FANNY: young women who were self-taught musicians, accomplished rock instrumentalists and singers who reached a level of success previously unheard of for a rock band composed solely of women, was a remarkable achievement.  

As the first all-female rock act to record an album for a major record label, FANNY was the first all-female rock act to rise to real prominence in the US and Europe. Acknowledged by both the press and their many fans as an awesome live act – in the words of Steve Peacock, a top UK music journalist of the era, “if you close your eyes, it’s like listening to the Stones ” – FANNY toured tirelessly for up to nine months of every year. Releasing five critically acclaimed albums from 1970 to 1975, FANNY had a string of hit singles and also played on the studio recordings of some legendary artists including Barbra Streisand. In addition to their many live gigs, they performed on top music and variety television shows of the time including the BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test, the Sonny and Cher Show, American Bandstand and The Beat Club, Germany’s most famous band program.  

The four original members of FANNY were June Millington (guitar, vocals), Jean Millington (bass, vocals), Alice de Buhr (drums, vocals), and Nickey Barclay (keyboards, vocals).  

About Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
The Center for Asian American Media is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. For over 40 years, CAAM has exposed audiences to new voices and communities, advancing our collective understanding of the American experience through programs specifically designed to engage the Asian American community and the public at large.

For nearly four decades, CAAM has created opportunities for Americans and people around the globe to understand the diverse stories and experiences of Asian Americans through:

Careers. CAAM empowers filmmakers to achieve their full potential by providing training, funding, distribution, and access to professional networks.

Community. Connecting filmmakers and their stories to people and communities in schools, community centers, theaters, and neighborhoods, bridging conversations about inclusiveness and social equity.

Perspective. CAAM-supported work changes the way audiences see the world, changing hearts and minds, inspiring empathy and meaningful social action.

About PBS
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Communications on Twitter .

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May 22, 2023 12:00am
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