The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and PBS has 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. Yet, despite releasing five critically acclaimed albums over five years, touring with famed bands like 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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.