Banger Films Official Blog

Tag: sam dunn

Metal Evolution Official Trailer – Region Free

by on Oct.25, 2011, under Banger Films, Metal Evolution

Anyone outside of the USA would have been a little miffed at failing a Geographic check by the website when trying to view the Metal Evolution Trailer. Well strap on those studded wristbands again and feast your eyes on 50 seconds of Metal Splendor!

Metal Evolution premieres on VH1 Classic on 11/11/11 at 10PM (Eastern) and will then appear weekly in its Saturday @ 10pm time slot.
The series will be airing in other territories and we will announce this information as soon as we possibly can!

Our gift to you: Turn it up and hit the Play Button.

Metal Evolution presents 11 episodes based on the ground-breaking “Heavy Metal Family Tree”. This 26 sub-genre genealogical chart reveals the vast complex progeny of heavy metal – from Early Metal and Shock Rock to Thrash, from Progressive Metal to Grunge and Nu Metal. Using the Chart as his road map, host/producer and metalhead turned anthropologist Sam Dunn, crisscrossed the globe exploring the vast history of heavy metal across its 40+ year history and beyond. From bars and back alleys to the biggest open air festivals, Sam will visit the pioneers of British and American hard rock who laid metal’s sonic foundation, as well as the current leaders of contemporary metal. Whether you love metal, documentaries or just great stories, Metal Evolution is the ultimate examination into the history of Heavy Metal music.

Drawing on the expertise of a whole team of musicians, journalists, academics, and producers, Sam will explore the questions heavy metal fans have always wanted to ask. A highlight of the series will be Sam’s in-depth discussions with many of heavy metal’s most important and influential personalities. From Alice Cooper to Slash, Lemmy to Rob Zombie and members of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Slayer, Van Halen, Def Leppard, The Stooges, ZZ Top, Motley Crue, Poison, Rage Against The Machine, Alice In Chains, Korn, and many more, Sam will investigate the history, myths and intricacies of Metal.

Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments !! Share, Tweet and +1 the shit out of this post!
No topic is off limits, especially anything related to the Glam segment. ;)

76 Comments :, , , , more...

Opening the Vault – 2008 Interview with Sam Dunn

by on May.18, 2011, under Banger Films, Headbanger's Journey DVD Tour

This is a great interview. There are a shitload of rehashed q&a sessions with nothing new and nothing learned. This is a beauty moment captured a couple years after the release of Metal a Headbanger’s Journey and just after the release of Global.

We’ve received permission from Mike Shaw to reprint the story. Thanks man!

Forget Morgan Spurlock, the hottest new documentary maker is an unassuming Canadian named Sam Dunn. Along with Scot McFadyen, he has produced the year’s most exhilarating doc – and it’s all about metal.

Following the genre from its very beginnings, and including interviews with all of the movement’s major players, Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey is an absolute necessity for annoying with even a passing interest in heavy guitars and the vigorous banging of heads, and if not – what the fuck are you doing reading this mag?

Beginning with an argument over who can truly claim to be the first metal band, and taking in pretty much everything from metal’s relationship to opera, the use of the devil’s tritone, the infamous court cases of the 80s and more than a little hero worship, it’s an epic production. But did it feel that way while making it?

Sam Dunn director of Metal A Headbangers Journey
“It was a long, long road,” says writer/director/presenter Sam Dunn. “It was about five-and-a-half years, from the point of conception through to completion. It took us three years to raise the funding because we were first-time filmmakers taking on a pretty ambitious project, so it took a while to wrangle the funds. Once we had the money, it was about two years for the research, writing, shooting and editing of the film.”

And you drew the short straw and ended up presenting it? “Yeah, I ended up being ‘the dude in the film’,” he laughs. “The interesting thing in this collaboration between (co-director) Scot McFadyen and I, is that I grew up listening to this sort of music, but Scot is not a metalhead. I mean, he’s a fan of music, and has worked as a music supervisor for a long time, so I think that between us we were able to have the insider and outsider perspective. Which is something we tried to balance in the film.”

Was it hard not going too far down the fanboy route? “Yes and no. That was the balance we were trying to strike,” Sam explains. “The film was a personal journey that was obviously fuelled with passion and all of those good things, and on the other hand I had to bring in the anthropological angle. I think that it really speaks of the collaborative process that Scot was always there to keep me in check if we were heading down the nerd path too hard, and steer us back on, and remind me that we don’t need to obsess about the British grindcore movement for 20 minutes. It was by virtue of that kind of collaboration that enabled us to maintain some kind of objectivity. Scot acted as the other side of my psyche.”

When watching Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, it doesn’t feel like your standard documentary. It’s bigger in scope and feel than many other films of its type – certainly rock docs. Was there a moment when the production suddenly felt bigger than planned? “It happened fairly early on in the writing process,” Dunn says, “but it took us a while to figure out that it had the potential. Originally it was going to be a much more conventional, historical documentary about heavy metal, and we were thinking of getting Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden to narrate, and it would be more of a look back.

“As we threw the idea around and talked about it, we realised we needed something that would bring people in from the outside, because we didn’t just want to make a film for metal fans.”

He continues: “If we’d done that, it would have turned into a TV project. The combination of a personal journey and the anthropological angle was something we felt would bring in more people, and we felt we had more of a story on our hands, rather than just a history.

“Our intention with the film is to convert as many people as possible,” he says, tongue-in-cheek… I think.

Iron Maiden's Bruce DickinsonIt’s clear from the outset of the film that Dunn is a massive Iron Maiden fan, and that getting to meet Bruce Dickinson in the process of shooting was a major thing for him, which is cool – I think we can all relate to that – but was there anyone else who made an impression?

“Well meeting Bruce Dickinson was obviously massive for me because Maiden are my all-time favourite band,” he reiterates, “but Tony Iommi was amazing. That was for a few reasons – the obvious reason is, he pretty much single-handedly created this guitar sound that became defined as the ‘heavy metal sound’ and played such a huge role. Secondly, he was just great with us – gave us plenty of his time and he was really gracious and friendly with us, which made it easy. Thirdly, that interview with Tommy came quite late in our production, right at the end, and there were a few ket interviews we felt we still needed. One was Lemmy, and one was Tony Iommi, and they both came together towards the end, and once we had Tony and were driving away from that country manor where we interviewed him, we felt like ‘Yes. We’ve got it now. We can make a film about metal, that covers all our bases.’”

It speaks volumes for the film that the makers chose to go after true metal heroes like Iommi, rather than taking the easy option of just grabbing Ozzy and letting him ramble on. Dunn agrees: “Yeah, Tony has a bit more to say. Our intention and motivation was to create a film that was smart and that gave the music the respect we felt it has always deserved. It was really just a matter of asking the right people the right questions.

“Growing up it felt like most of my metal friends were pretty articulate people, it wasn’t like they were always walking round smashing beer cans on their foreheads, which is the standard portrayal. Interviewing Tony instead of Ozzy is a sign of how we wanted to approach the film.”

This articulacy is evident throughout the documentary. Interviewees like Rob Zombie, Ronnie James Dio and Dee Snider bring up pertinent points, which is not something the average fan necessarily expects.

“Yeah, I agree. I honestly feel it was about framing it all in the right way. Most musicians, particularly in the metal world, are just used to answering pretty superficial and mundane questions like, ‘how’s the new album coming along?’, ‘how’s the tour?’, ‘tell me about your craziest moment on stage, dude.’ Those are the kinds of questions they’re used to fielding, and we were coming at them from an angle of the history of the music and the themes of the music, and what it means to people and why it is obsessed with all these bizarre things. Once we got going with the interviews, most of the artists began to open up and it was an opportunity to talk about things that they don’t usually get to talk about.”

In a world with such rabid fans, there was bound to be some complaining along the lines of ‘Boo hoo, Manowar weren’t featured enough’, and the internet is certainly testament to that, with a variety of websites and forums praising and decrying the film in equal measures for its choice of subjects. Has Dunn personally encountered any complaints?

“Ooooooooohhhh yes,” he says with a chuckle. “The great thing about making the film is that we’ve had to travel to dozens of film festivals around the world, and wherever you go, the fans that love this music and are passionate about it always have their opinions about which bands were omitted, and who we didn’t spend enough time on – but that’s what makes metal music so special; people care so much. It’s part of how they grow up and become their own person, so it has a lot of personal resonance.”

How have you answered those more critical fans?

“Our intention with creating the heavy metal family tree (check the film out, or go to was hopefully a way for us to at least touch on all of the different movements and the different bands. We knew we weren’t going to have interviews with everyone, but the tree was kind of a way to go ‘okay, we can tick Megadeth off the list.’”

As the film progresses, proceedings take a darker turn as Dunn investigates the world of black metal and the more questionable exercises some people practise… church burning, for example. One sections sees the director travel to Norway to chat face-to-face with some of the guys involved. It’s quite uneasy viewing in places; was Dunn intimidated at all?

“Well, to start with, I’m a huge fan of a lot of the black metal bands,” he explains, “and the bands and I communicated by email, there was a sense of camaraderie, and of trust, and that we could talk about these issues. So, it wasn’t so much a matter of being intimidated by them at all, because they’re really nice guys. It was more about being surprised, because when we wrote the treatment we expected the bands to distance themselves from those events – that’s what we were expecting to get – but we were surprised in one or two situations to find that some of the artists actually support the burning, or, if they don’t necessarily support it, there is an underlying resentment of Christianity that stretches back a long, long time. That is something that is very real in their culture, and that was often the case with some of the bands we interviewed there.

“When we came back and started editing, we were like ‘Wow. Religion is really important to these people and has had a huge influence on their society’, so we wanted to reflect that in the movie.”

Another of the more notorious scenes in the movie takes place at the Wacken festival, when the the filmmakers catch up with Norwegian metallers Mayhem. It’s not an overexaggeration to say that they were dicks. Were they really like that, or did they just turn it on when the cameras started rolling?

“They were actually pretty obnoxious,” says Dunn. “But I will say, I’ve met them in Norway and I’ve talked with other band members on different occasions, and they’re actually pretty nice guys – it’s not like they’re out to control the world. In the context of that interview, they’d just got off stage after playing to 40,000 people and they’d obviously been drinking most of the day, so I don’t think they were particularly interested in doing an interview. All of those factors combined with the fact that there were 30-40 people standing behind me watching the interview, so it was like they were still performing. As an interviewer your goal is to establish some kind of intimacy, but clearly… we failed.”

What about current, more populist bands – are there any that grab Dunn’s attention?

metal band slipknot

“I’m not a huge fan of metalcore, emocore, eyelinercore, whatever,” he explains. “Metal is not supposed to be cute, and when it becomes cute, it becomes wrong. These bands begin to tread that fine line between being too commercial and staying underground.” Dunn continues: “If people are discovering Coheed and Cambria or Slipknot or Avenged Sevenfold, and are then discovering the Black Sabbaths and Iron Maidens and Slayers, then I think that’s good. Who am I to judge that? That’s how I got into the music. It’s like we say in the movie, with Van Halen and Motley Crue, before it was Morbid Angel and Creator. I mean, c’mon, you don’t start at step five. As long as that more populist music is providing a gateway into the core of metal, then that’s a good thing.”

So the more traditional idea of metal is still alive and thriving?

“Yeah, I think now’s a really exciting time for metal,” he says. “A lot of people think metal is just about nostslgia and that it dies in the 80s, and that was another myth we were trying to debunk in the film. Metal is underground, that’s where it comes from, and it’s always gonna survive.

“Right now what’s great is that loads of bands that have been toiling away in the underground for a long time are starting to get some recognition. Bands like Arch Enemy, Mastadon, Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, so many of these bands are really starting to make their way, and it’s really positive for metal because it’s not like Linkin Park where you can handpick your heavy metal boyband. These bands are the real thing, and that’s what metal fans really appreciate and they deserve it. It feels like 20 years ago, and I see parallels between what was happening then and what’s happening now.”

The exuberance with which Sam Dunn talks about his film, his band at home and his next movie idea is a reflection of his love of the music. Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey isn’t a plea to the wider world for understanding, it’s just an attempt to shine a light on a greatly misunderstood medium, and if the haters still don’t get it, then that’s just fine.

As Dunn says at the film’s close: “We’re doing just fine without you.”

This article first appeared in Burn magazine, issue 11

Once again thanks to Mike for reaching out with this story. We are also huge Team America fans. :)

3 Comments :, , more...

RUSH: Beyond the Lighted Stage Gets Juno Nod

by on Feb.01, 2011, under Headbanger's Journey DVD Tour, Rush Documentary

Today is starting out with fantastic news as Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage has been nominated for a 2011 Juno Award under the Best Music DVD category! As many of you will remember, Banger Films took this same award last year for the work on Iron Maiden: Flight 666 which marked a new movement in band specific documentaries for the team.
The 2011 Juno nominations were announced this morning live on CTV. There will be a lot of hype around Justin and Drake who have blasted into the music spotlight this year and we wish them all the best.
This is shaping up to be a monumental year for RUSH and the people behind the film at Banger Films HQ. The world can look forward to the next wave of RUSH’s Time Machine Tour featuring the Moving Pictures album in it’s entirety. There is the Grammy Awards in April, preceded by the Juno’s in March.

We will add more to this news story as we get feedback but it is safe to say that the office is pretty excited this morning.

In the meantime, please read up on the other amazing Music DVD’s that were also nominated below.


Shadow Shows/Rhombus Media/Arts & Crafts*Alliance
Bruce McDonald Dany M. Chiasson, Niv Fichman, Noah Segal, Amy Paquette BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
This Movie is Broken
Broken Social Scene – DVD
This Movie is Broken

One of Canada’s pre-eminent cult fimmakers, Bruce McDonald is infamous for his comment that he’d buy “a big chunk of hash” with the money he won at the Toronto International Film Festival for his debut feature Roadkill. Anyone who’s seen one of his films knows that he wasn’t joking. Roadkill was followed by the other two films in his Road Trilogy, Hard Core Logo and Highway 61. In between executive producing and directing the television series Twitch City and directing for shows like Queer as Folk, Degrassi: The Next Generation, The Tournament and This is Wonderland, McDonald also directed the films Dance Me Outside, Picture Claire, Claire’s Hat, The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess, The Tracey Fragments, Pontypool and This Movie is Broken. His most recent film, Trigger, premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

Christopher Mills Nick Blasko, Geoff McLean, Christopher Mills BUCK 65
The Lost Tapes
Buck 65
The Lost Tapes

Christopher Mills is best known for his video work for Modest Mouse, The Tragically Hip, The Secret Machines, and Interpol–combining live action with animation in a style he describes as, “Rumpled Country Art Doctor Antiques Lover Who Thinks Out Of The Box Yet Imagines Vast Worlds Inside It.” In addition to music videos and commercials, Christopher has created visual work for the Art Gallery of Ontario as well as for The Tragically Hip’s stadium concert tour in 2005. He created and directed, “Macroscopic,” a 47-minute experimental documentary about The Tragically Hip that was included in their 20-year retrospective, Hipeponymous, released in late 2005. Christopher has received many awards for his music video work, including a JUNO Award for 2008 Video of the Year for Blue Rodeo’s “C’mon” and Best Breakthrough Video for Modest Mouses’ “Float On” in 2004. His 2006 mixed-media commercial for Hewlett-Packard, called: Crazy Town,” was his first U.S. commercial. Christopher lives in Toronto.

Jean Lamoureux, Julie Snyder CELINE DION
Céline-Tournée Mondiale Taking Chances Le Spectacle
Celine Dion
Céline-Tournée Mondiale Taking Chances Le Spectacle

Celine -Tournee Mondiale Taking Chances Le Spectacle is the exclusive French version filmed live in Québec. The U.S. edition features only her English language songs, performed throughout all of North America. La Tournee Mondiale Taking Chances Le Spectacle, showcases Céline’s inspiring dedication to creating a stage experience like no other. The DVD/CD offers another chance to experience the magical event, this time from a vantage point unparalleled by any ticket

Jeremy Tusz, Tom Beghin, Martha De Francisco, Wieslaw Woszczyk TOM BEGHIN
The Virtual Haydn

Jeremy Tusz is a Montréal-based recording engineer, editor, and video producer specializing in classical music. He splits his time between CD/SACD/BluRay Audio album production, and promotional and educational video production for musicians and record labels. The Virtual Haydn (Playing the Room) is his first full-length documentary on a screenplay by Robert J. Litz. Jeremy works with artists and groups such as Lara St. John, Jens Lindemann, Alain Lefèvre, Angèle Dubeau, Kent Nagano and l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, The National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Les Violons du Roi, l’Ensemble Caprice, and The Knights. His work can be heard on recordings for labels such as Analekta, Ancalagon, Azica, Marquis Classics, Naxos, Sony Classical, Virgin Classics, and XXI. He has credits on 10 JUNO Award-nominated recordings (three wins), a MIDEM-nominated recording, an Echo Klassik-winning recording, and many ADISQ-nominated and winning recordings. Jeremy has a background in violin and viola performance and is a graduate of the McGill University Schulich School of Music Masters of Music in Sound Recording program (2006).

Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn, Pegi Cecconi, Noah Segal, Shelley Nott, John Virant RUSH
Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage

Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage

Rush is one of rock’s most influential bands, ranking third for most gold and platinum albums behind The Beatles and Rolling Stones.  But despite having legions of devoted fans and being revered by generations of musicians, they have been ignored by critics and continually overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Featuring never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with some of today’s most respected rock artists, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage explores the 40-year career and phenomenon behind what could be the world’s biggest cult band.

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage looking for the 'Double' with a Grammy and a Juno

1 Comment :, , , , , more...

Sam Dunn to Speak at Noctis Metal Music Conference 2010

by on Sep.03, 2010, under Banger Films

Just stumbled across this and well done to the marketing team over at the conference for exploiting social media and Facebook ads. It looks like Sam will be attending the Noctis Metal Music Conference to be held in Calgary, Alberta on September 24-25 of this year.

Noctis IV Metal Fest and Conference - Sept 24,25 2010 Calgary, Alberta

The conference is part of the Metal Fest which is in it’s 4th incarnation and this year will feature a headlining act by Germany’s thrash metal hero’s SODOM. Wow, that brings it back. I remember mostly Persecution Mania but I’m sure there was some scratchy, shitty cassette bootleg of Obsessed by Cruelty somewhere in Sam’s collection. Rather than rehash a bunch of info already splashed across the event pages I’ll just direct you to the pertinent Event Info.

Here is the main link for all things Noctis IV Metal Fest and Conference

Check out this Facebook page for event info for the Noctis Metal Music Conference

Check out this Facebook page for even info for the Noctis IV Metal Fest

Don’t forget to Stumble, Tweet and Like all these posts!

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , more...

Flight 666 and Anvil Screenings at Heavy MTL 2010 in Montreal

by on Jul.19, 2010, under Banger Films, Iron Maiden Flight 666

Iron Maiden Flight 666 is set to be featured at this years Heavy Mtl festival in Montreal. If you’re anywhere in the area, don’t miss this chance to catch the award winning Banger Films documentary on the big screen!

From the Heavy MTL website:

Heavy MTL is North-America’s premier destination heavy music festival and takes place in Montréal, Québec, Canada.

The first edition of the festival took place in June 2008 and saw the likes of Iron Maiden, Mötley Crüe, Disturbed, Three Days Grace, Dethklok, Anthrax, Type O Negative, Mastodon, and many others shred their way through an intense two-day celebration of heavy music.

After taking a break in 2009, Heavy MTL organizers are committed to making Heavy MTL 2010 the place to be for heavy music fans in 2010.

Heavy MTL 2010 will be held on July 24th and 25th in the breathtaking site that is Parc Jean-Drapeau at Île Saint-Hélène, Montréal.

Also catch the incredible documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil. A gut wrenching, hilarious and emotion filled glimpse into the past and present lives of the members of the Heavy Metal legends, Anvil.

Both movies will be shown in stark contrast to each other with a very special Q&A with the members of Anvil as well as Sam and Scot from Banger Films.

In case you missed that last part = Don’t miss this chance to see last years 2 best music documentary’s on Iron Maiden and Anvil as well as an up close and personal Question period with Sam Dunn, Scot Mcfadyen and members of Anvil!


Anvil: The Story of Anvil

Iron Maiden Flight 666

1 Comment :, , , , , , , more...

Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wordpress themes