Think about Facebook, iPods, iTunes — all things you might use every single day. They all have seeds in the “little program that could,” called Napster. Co-created by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker in the late 1990s, the file-sharing service/social network was not only ahead of its time technologically and socially, it completely changed how the public consumes media. If it wasn’t for Fanning and Parker, who knows how long it would have taken for corporations to allow you to download music on your computer or rent one of their movies without leaving your house.

All this is at the center of Downloaded, a brand-new documentary by Alex Winter. Winter (seen above with Fanning and Parker) is best known as an actor (Lost Boys, Bill and Ted) but has been directing for some time. With Downloaded, he tackles a massive topic with authority and energy, telling the story of Napster from its earliest moments through its culture peak and long term fallout. It world premieres this week at South by Southwest in Austin and will be released by VH1 Rock Docs. After that, you’ll be able to see it on demand and online.

We spoke to Winter about Downloaded and found out it was a project he’d been developing for long time before it evolved into its current state. He talked about trying to focus such a huge topic, culling together a huge wealth of media and, of course, The Lost Boys and Bill and Ted 3. Read the interview below. Read More »

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The next big festival after Sundance is SXSW, right here in Austin, TX. The fest runs from March 8-16, and has just announced the opening night film, as well as a few other selections. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is the opener, and stars Steve Carrell as as “a Las Vegas magician who splits from his longtime stage partner (Steve Buscemi) amid competition from an edgy upstart (Jim Carrey).” Watch the trailer here.

The film, directed by Dan Scardino, opens wide shortly after, on March 15.

More film announcements, including the premiere of Evil Dead, are below. Read More »

Many of us think of Alex Winter only as Bill S. Preston, Esq., the most excellent co-star of the Bill and Ted movies. But since those films were released, the actor has found himself behind the camera quite often, directing theatrical and TV movies, and TV shows. Then last year he signed to make a documentary about the cultural milestone Napster, an online music sharing software that not only changed the way we consume music, but changed the internet as well. That project, called Downloaded, seems to be nearing completion and the first trailer has been released. Check it out below. Read More »

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