Howie Goldklang
METAL ON FILM

Meet ANVIL director Sacha Gervasi

By - May 6th, 2009 12:00 am
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It’s American Movie meets Spinal Tap … but it’s all real. If that’s not enough to get you off the couch, you are banned from ever going to the movies again! Sacha Gervasi‘s documentary ANVIL: The Story of Anvil tells the story of the band Anvil, once dubbed “the demigods of Canadian Metal,” who, despite selling millions of records in the early ’80s, quickly jumped the tracks into obscurity – to everyone but themselves. This is a film about undying friendship, the pursuit of true art and of course, melting faces. TCD and Gervasi spoke, and now you listen.

TCD: How big was your crew? What format did you shoot on and why?

SG: My crew was anywhere from three to eight [people]. Sometimes just me! We shot on prosumer cameras, a Sony z1U and varicam. We wanted flexibility. Never would have been able to catch some of those moments with film – would have taken too long to load.

TCD: How much time did you spend covering the band?

SG: Over two years.

TCD: War story from the shoot?

SG: We had to bribe guards to let us out of Romania and take the bridge over the Danube to Bulgaria. We were refused entry there, then had to come back across the bridge to go back to Romania, but they wouldn’t let us in! The same guards! We were stuck between two borders, much like a film I wrote called The Terminal.

TCD: An unanswered question from the film: why didn’t Slash, Lemmy, Scott Ian, Metallica, etc take Anvil out on the road to lift them out of obscurity?

SG:
Those bands are stepping up, and they have done things in the past. To be fair, promoters control the bills often, and up until now Anvil, didn’t have enough of a commercial profile for it make sense. Now they do.

TCD: Besides the obvious – the perseverance of friendship, Canadian metal – what were you trying to get across as you were creating this film?

SG:
I wanted to convey the idea that people aren’t that much different when you take the time to look a little closer. And when your heart’s in the right place, you can’t really fail, whatever it is you’re doing.

Showtimes on the Third Coast:
Milwaukee
Chicago
Minneapolis
Detroit
Columbus

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PS: In January 2008, I went to the ANVIL premiere party at the Sundance Film Festival. Their set started with lead singer/guitarist Lips walking into the crowd and playing a sick, metal hammer-with-the-pinky barnburner solo complete with the wagging tongue and goofy grin/devil metal eyes. Slash and Scott Ian from Anthrax (pictured here alongside Lips) sat in and rocked a cover of Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.” Unreal. Here’s the YouTube:

Photo credits:
Anvil still: Photo courtesy of Metal on Metal Productions, Inc
Anvil Park City: Howie Goldklang!

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