Palm Springs, a small desert oasis 100 miles East of Los Angeles was Sinatra's true home for 50 years. During his brief yet turbulent marriage to Ava Gardner his Palm Springs home was center stage. For the rest of his life, the Rancho Mirage compound on Frank Sinatra Drive, was the home he called “My Heaven”. Palm Springs still feels the ghost of Frank Sinatra.
“Sinatra in Palm Springs – The Place He Called Home”, a documentary film by Leo Zahn, explores Frank Sinatra’s deep attachment to Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, his primary home for almost 50 years. The film captures the spirit of the Sinatra era and pays tribute to the unique lifestyle of Sinatra’s Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage.
Steeped in affection and appreciation for the deep bond between Sinatra and these beguiling desert towns, “Sinatra in Palm Springs” tells the story of a man whose generosity and compassion for his fellow citizens had no bounds. He loved the desert and its people. He loved the local restaurants and bars. His best friends lived nearby. Revealing interviews bring to life a bygone era . . . beginning with the post WWII years and Sinatra’s 1947 home in Palm Springs, tumultuous times with Ava Gardner, his 1954 move to Cathedral City/Rancho Mirage, his marriage to Barbara, and life at the “compound”.
More than 50 clips from his movies and television appearances bring to life the Sinatra of legend during the Palm Springs years. Major sequences are dedicated to historic restaurants Sinatra frequented for decades. Featuring interviews with Barbara Sinatra, Mel Haber, Tom Dreesen, Nelda Linsk, Bruce Fessier, Trini Lopez, Michael Fletcher and many others who knew and lived and played with Frank Sinatra.
After completing USC Film School, Leo Zahn studied architecture
and design in Europe. Working in film as director/editor
Leo produced short-form promos and featurettes for major
Hollywood studios. This led to an opportunity to direct TV
commercials for the Rothschild Group in Berlin, commuting
between Berlin, London and Los Angeles. Over the course of his
30-year career in advertising based in Los Angeles full time, Leo
directed and photographed more than 600 commercials, filmed
in the US, Canada and Europe. In 1996 Leo directed the pilot for
the “Cobra 11” television series for RTL Network which just
completed its 20th season and is shown in 25 countries. He was
awarded the International Cinema Advertising CLIO and the
Creativity Award from British Art Direction Magazine and has
been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 1988.
In 2014 he was a working group member of the Motion Picture
Academy (AMPAS) Science and Technology Council, charged
with creating test materials for the Next Generation Cinema
Technology (NGCT) program. Vimeo
His first feature-length documentary "Desert Maverick" premiered during Modernism Week 2016. The film was the Official Selection at Newport Beach and American Documentary Festival and won "Best Documentary" at the 2016 Laughlin International Film festival.