When you see Downloaded, the VH1 Rock Doc that made its world premiere at the 2013 SXSW Festival last night, director Alex Winter presents some clear lines of demarcation between who he views as the heroes and villains of the story. Shawn Fanning, co-founder of Napster and the “face” of the company, is presented as a sympathetic figure, and the frightened “old world” mentality is personified by Metallica‘s drummer Lars Ulrich, who famously led the charge against the file-sharing service. We caught up with Shawn Fanning last night and asked him if, after all these years, he still had beef with Lars.
“We have a studio that Sean (Parker) is recording at with his wife,” Fanning began. “I sent a telepresence robot in to mess with Lars. You know, one of those things you drive around? And it went haywire, I lost the connection. I heard a bunch of noise and I went in. The robot’s on the ground, the drinks are all spilled everywhere, and apparently the robot headbutted Lars and took him out. I think he thought I sent it in intentionally, like as an assault or something. We had a good laugh about it.”
But is there still any residual bad blood? “You know what? None of that stuff was personal. I don’t even think [Metallica] knew what they were getting into. I think a lot of it was driven by the lawyers, and a lot of it was driven by understanding. I never really had much of a problem with it, it was more surreal than anything.”
Downloaded, a documentary film that focuses on the advent of digital media sharing, including the rise of the game-changing company Napster and its controversial pioneers Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, will make its VH1 premiere in 2013. It was recently named by the Hollywood Reporter as one of 5 documentaries to watch for at this year’s festival. You can watch the trailer for the film, which was directed by Alex Winter, below.
Photos from last night’s premiere:
[Photos: Getty Images]