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William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet

William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet
File:William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet.jpg
Directed by Pat Buckley
Bobby Ciraldo (co-director)
Kevin Layne (co-director))
Andrew Swant (co-director)
Produced by William Shatner
Kimberley Kates
Scott Woolley
Chris Carley
David Zappone
Michael Manasseri
Starring William Shatner
Ben Folds
Margo Sappington
Henry Rollins
Elizabeth Shatner
Michael Pink
Music by Ben Folds
Cinematography Mark Escribano
Edited by Ray Chi
Distributed by EPIX
Release dates
  • April 17, 2009 (2009-04-17) (Nashville Film Festival)
Running time
60 minutes
Country United States
Language English

William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet is a feature-length documentary film about a ballet by Margo Sappington called "Common People", which was set to the music of William Shatner and Ben Folds from their album Has Been.[1][2][3] Common People was one of the Has Been tracks, and was a cover of a Pulp song from their 1995 Different Class album.[1]

The film explores the genesis of this unique artistic collaboration by fusing the music, poetry, and dance of "Common People" with interviews by William Shatner, Ben Folds, Margo Sappington, and Henry Rollins. Shatner plays a prominent role in the film and also acted as Executive Producer.[1][2][3]

The film was made by Special Entertainment and Big Screen Entertainment Group in association with Shatner's Melis Productions.[1][2][4]

The documentary had a very well received World Premiere at the Nashville Film Festival in April 2009, where it won the President's Impact Award. William Shatner attended and, to the delight of the audience, provided additional insights into his recording of "Has Been" and the ballet. Ben Folds and Margo Sappington were also in attendance. Variety magazine called the film "surprisingly revealing" and indieWire reviewed that "Shatner comes across as a true original."

After the premiere in Nashville the film screened at the Rhode Island Film Festival, DocFest Stratford, the Milwaukee Film Festival, the Wild Rivers Film Festival, the Edmonton International Film Festival, the Indie Memphis Film Festival, and the San Diego Film Festival.

In October 2009 the film screened at the Marbella International Film Festival in Spain, where it won the Best Documentary award. William Shatner attended the festival and accepted the award. The film also won a Telly Award in 2012.[5]

The world television premiere was a multi-platform release through EPIX, a joint venture between Paramount Pictures, MGM, and Lionsgate. The film aired on July 21, 2011 on the EPIX channel, Epix SVOD service,, and was available across Internet connected devices.[6] In October 2011 the film became available on Netflix.


  1. ^ a b c d [1] The City Paper, By Ron Wynn (February 11, 2009), "Shatner beaming down to Nashville Film Festival", accessed 02-19-2009
  2. ^ a b c [2] CNN Money (February 12, 2009), "Big Screen Entertainment Group and William Shatner to Walk the Red Carpet at Nashville International Film Festival", accessed 02-19-2009
  3. ^ a b [3] The Tennessean, By Dave Paulson (February 11, 2009)), "William Shatner will bring documentary to Nashville film fest = Star's movie tracks creation of a ballet", accessed 01-19-2009
  4. ^ [4] Nashville Scene, By Jim Ridley (February 11, 2009), "Peter Fonda, William Shatner ballet (!) among 2009 Nashville Film Festival lineup", accessed 02-19-2009
  5. ^
  6. ^ "EPIX: William Shatner’s Next Frontier". The New York Times. 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 

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