VH1 has acquired the exclusive rights for the critically acclaimed documentary “Anvil! The Story of Anvil.” VH1 will handle the television and DVD release and distribute the film theatrically in association with Abramorama. The world television premiere on VH1 this summer and the subsequent DVD release of the film follow a network-wide, multi-platform promotional campaign supporting the theatrical film release April 10, 2009 in New York and Los Angeles followed by a national roll-out.
“Anvil! The Story of Anvil” is the directorial debut of screenwriter Sacha Gervasi (“The Terminal”) and was produced by Rebecca Yeldham (“The Kite Runner” and “The Motorcycle Diaries”). The film follows Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner and their band, Anvil, which released one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982’s Metal on Metal. The album influenced an entire musical generation of rock bands, including Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, who all went on to sell millions of records. Anvil, on the other hand, took a different path — straight to obscurity. The film is both entertaining and touching as it follows their last-ditch quest for the fame and fortune that has been so elusive to them. “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” is a timeless tale of survival and the unadulterated passion it takes to follow your dream, year after year.
Ironically, life is now looking up for the band. After years of playing to empty bars and working dead end jobs, the band is beginning to find the success that evaded them for decades. They have recently been signed by manager Rick Sales (Slayer), US agent Scott Sokol (Megadeth, Heaven and Hell), and UK agent Steve Strange (Coldplay). The band is being welcomed with open arms everywhere they go. Their latest fan, Sarah Brown (wife of the Prime Minister), attended the red carpet premiere of the film in the UK. Now with a U.S. Tour, the support of VH1 and VH1 Classic, a feature documentary, and an immeasurable amount of will and determination, the band is picking up where they left off twenty five years ago.
“When I was sixteen years old Anvil was my favorite band in the world. I couldn’t believe it when I met Lips and Robb in London and they invited me to come out on the road with them. Running away to join the rock and roll circus was, of course, an experience I never forgot. When I met the band again twenty years later I was completely awed and inspired to discover that they simply refused to give up on the dream they had had as kids. It makes me intensely happy and proud to see the band finally getting the recognition they so richly deserve. Anvil rocks!” said Sacha Gervasi, director of the film.
“Anvil! The Story of Anvil” premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it received acclaim from critics and audiences alike. It went on to win the Audience Awards at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival, 2008 Sydney Film Festival, and 2009 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, as well as the Best Documentary Feature Awards at 2008 Galway Film Fleadh, 2008 Calgary Film Festival, 2008 Edmonton Film Festival, and 2009 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. The film was also nominated for the Truer Than Fiction Award at the 2009 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The film was released in the UK to critical acclaim on February 20, 2009.
“This film is so much more than a documentary about the roots of metal. It’s a story about the power of perseverance and friendship and the passion that drives them,” said Tom Calderone, President of VH1. “‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil’ has a huge heart and will resonate with all of our viewers. This is the type of project that drew me into the VH1 fold and makes me especially proud to work here.”
Praised as “The best documentary I’ve seen in years,” by documentarian Michael Moore, the London Times calls it “Possibly the greatest film yet made about rock and roll;” “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” contains appearances by an array of heavy metal icons, including Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, former member of Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, Anthrax’s Scott Ian, and Slayer’s Tom Araya, among others.
“Sacha knew from the beginning that this was not just a “metal” film. In my first encounter with Anvil, it was impossible not to be moved by their loyalty, determination and mad, blind faith. How sweet it is to see them now ride this tide of success — not just to be heard, finally — but to be heralded for their humbling tenacity and devotion to their art and to each other,” said producer Rebecca Yeldham.
VH1 has thrown the full support of the network behind Anvil, the band’s music and the film on all platforms. The timing of this support from not only VH1 but from the music and film industry coincides with the realization of Anvil’s lifelong dream to “make it.”
Timed to the release of the film in April, VH1 Classic will serve as the exclusive presenter for the band’s U.S. tour. “VH1 Classic Presents: The Anvil Experience” will cover 7 markets and upcoming dates, venues and ticket information will be available immediately on the film’s website anvilmovie.com and vh1classic.com. At each tour stop, the film will be played immediately followed by a short performance by the band.
-- April 6 - NY, NY - Blender Theater
-- April 12 - San Francisco, CA - Slim's
-- April 14 - Seattle, WA - El Corazon
-- April 16 - Worcester, MA - The Palladium
-- April 17 - Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero
-- April 21 - Pontiac, MI - Crofoot Ballroom
-- April 22 - Chicago, IL - Metro
Additional elements include:
-- In an unprecedented move, for the first time ever the network will run
the full length movie trailer of the film like a music video
throughout all VH1 video hours -- morning, overnights, on VH1 Classic
and on vh1.com and vh1classic.com.
-- In the weeks leading up to the theatrical release, VH1 will be
creating a VH1 News package that will include a new interview with
Lips and Robb.
-- On vh1.com and vh1classic.com, Robb and Lips will be featured on an
episode of the original series "My Playlist" as they discuss their
influences and favorite Classic Rock songs.
-- VH1 Classic will air an episode of its original talk show "That Metal
Show" with Robb and Lips and will center on Anvil's career, music,
upcoming tour and the film. This episode will run timed to the film's
April theatrical release and will then repeat promoting the film's
television premiere on VH1 and the film's availability on DVD.
The DVD release and world television premiere of the film on VH1 and VH1 Classic this summer will be supported by significant on-air promos on VH1 and VH1 Classic and dedicated online promotion on VH1.com. Each telecast will include a customized on-screen graphic supporting the DVD release which will be made available to fans at a later date yet to be announced. Promotional excerpt clips of the film will also be supported and streamed on FVOD, online and wireless.
“Anvil! The Story of Anvil” is directed by Sacha Gervasi and produced by Rebecca Yeldham, with cinematography by Chris Soos, editing by Jeff Renfroe and Andrew Dickler, and music supervision by Dana Sano.