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Alex Winter Directing a Documentary About Napster's Rise and Fall

by
August 23, 2011
Source: Deadline

Napster / Alex Winter

We knew it was coming. With the success of The Social Network, more tech dramas had to be on their way, but this one is unique. Deadline reports that Alex Winter, better known as Bill from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure who's now a filmmaker, is ready to direct a movie about infamous file-sharing service Napster. However, instead of making a narrative feature out of the story, Winter is now just going to make this as a documentary with the support of VH1. He did 10 years of research for a script but Deadline says "Winter is going back to all the sources for his script, armed with a camera." Okay, this sounds like it could be great.

Winter himself spoke to Deadline about this new Napster project and it's obvious he has a passion for this story and despite trying to get a narrative version together, is still going to his best to bring us the definitive version of the Napster documentary. Winter explains his interests and why it's such a fascinating story:

"The rise and fall of Napster and the birth of peer-to-peer file-sharing technology created by Shawn Fanning when he was a college student, changed music to movies, and made possible everything from Julian Assange, WikiLeaks to the iPod and Facebook," Winter told me. "It became an expression of youth revolt, and contributed to a complete shift in how information, media and governments work. And it is a fascinating human story, where this 18-year-old kid invents a peer-to-peer file-sharing system, and brings it to the world six months later."

Word is that Napster founder Shawn Fanning himself will be involved, as well as a "group of label heads and musical artists he's still pulling together." That should be interesting to see. On whether this doc will side with one view or another, Winter explains that he doesn't really have a specific aim. "It's a gray area. I can understand Fanning's side, but I can also empathize with the horror that Metallica's Lars Ulrich felt when a single that wasn't even finished ended up on the radio." Indeed, but let's hope they equal time to tell their feelings, as I'm curious to hear what the recording industry says on camera about this entire situation.

This is actually a documentary I've been waiting to see ever since Napster got shut down and taken to court years ago. I hope it's the full-on tell-all, as that's what I'm hoping to see. And if only Fincher could direct The Music Network, written by Sorkin, I'd love to see Justin Timberlake back as Sean Parker, but let's not confuse the two, as Parker, an early Napster employee, is not the same Sean as Shawn Fanning, the official co-founder of Napster. Anyway, I'll be following to see how this develops, as I'm sure it'll take some time for Winter to put together this doc, but I can't wait to see it at an upcoming festival. Curious to see this doc?

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  • Blue Silver
    "Whoa,...dude!" Interesting!
  • Is Shawn Fanning related to the Fanning sisters by chance?
  • Anonymous
    Yeah... But what about Bill & Ted 3?

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