Alex Winter, who is most widely recognized as an actor from the immensely popular “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” series and “The Lost Boys”, is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker with acclaimed productions for network TV. He came to SXSW to screen “Downloaded,” which he produced and directed. “Downloaded” is a feature documentary about the rise and fall of Napster for VH1 Rock Docs. He brought it to SXSW for a screening, and we were fortunate to be able to ask him a few words about why he made the documentary. Winter tells us why this film is not just about the “Napster” debacle.
He filmed many participants in this saga besides Fanning and Parker, including artists such as Noel Gallagher, DJ Spooky (who also did the music for the film), Mike D from the Beastie Boys and Henry Rollins to name a few; label heads including Don Ienner, Chris Blackwell, Seymour Stein and other industry executives, government officials and leaders in the world of civil and digital rights, such as Grateful Dead lyricist, poet and essayist and “cyberlibertarian” activist JP Barlow and Harvard law professor and political activist Lawrence Lessig.
Not just that, but the way that the internet works “period” is based on that sort of peer to peer technology. It’s not all creditable to Shawn, but he was instrumental in creating an efficiency that made the code usable and scalable, where you could do stuff quickly.
This movie is not an apologia for Napster. My perspective on the whole story is that the way it was covered and spun by the press, (and the lawyers because of the massive lawsuit), that people came away thinking incorrectly about the record label side AND the Napster side.
I want to contextualize the story. This is not a movie about Napster, it’s a movie about one of the most important moments in cultural history.“