By KAREN BLISS
Jared Leto gets a laugh when he first appears onscreen in Artifact, the new documentary about his band 30 Seconds to Mars’ label troubles, holding his middle finger in the air from under his bedsheets. A bid for the cameraman to get the hell out of his room, the gesture sums up the sentiment of the film, which won the People’s Choice award for a documentary on Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Directed by Leto himself (under the alias Bartholomew Cubbins), Artifact chronicles 30 Seconds to Mars’ legal battle with EMI, who filed a $30 million breach of contract lawsuit against them in 2008 for failing to deliver the third of five albums. The band’s most recent LP at the time, 2005′s Beautiful Lie, had sold 3.5 million copies, but Leto and his bandmates – brother and drummer Shannon Leto and guitarist Tomo Milicevic – still owed money to their label. The dispute lasted over 200 days and inspired what would become their third LP, 2009′s This Is War.
“It started as a film about the making of an album, and it became a film about the most brutal and challenging conflict of our lives,” Leto told Rolling Stone in Toronto, adding that the film has received several offers from distributors. ”I hope that artists and audiences watch this film and get a greater understanding of how things work [in the record industry], because understanding is the beginning of change. Inevitably, we’re all moving towards what I hope is a more transparent system.”
As 30 Seconds to Mars holed up in L.A. with producer Flood to record This is War, the lawsuit loomed heavy, resulting in a stressful creative environment. Both Leto and Flood refer to the fight as a “moral crusade” in the film.
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Credit : Rolling stone