VH1 has announced that it will be releasing the documentary Downloaded this summer through its RockDocs series. Confirmed dates so far are the Village East Cinema in Manhattan on June 21 and Sundance Sunset Cinemas in Los Angeles on June 28. More bookings are scheduled in Austin, Grand Rapids, Alburquerque, San Francisco, and Seattle.
This decision follows successful screenings at SXSW in Austin and Hot Docs in Toronto, the enthusiastic response given to the director’s talk at Disrupt NY 2013 TechCrunch, and the announcement of VH1’s distribution deal with AOL. Produced by the Viacom-owned broadcaster’s VH1 in partnership with Cinetic Media and Richard Abramowitz, Downloaded is the latest entry in the Emmy award-winning RockDocs franchise. The franchise is described as a monthly series of high-end feature-length docs revealing untold stories about rock and hip-hop stars.
Directed by Alex Winter (best known for playing Bill in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Downloaded examines the rise of the Napster and its founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. More importantly, it explores the devastating implications the media-sharing service had on the music industry. Originally planning to do the project as a drama akin to The Social Network, Alex Winter has been working on this material for years. The film includes interviews with Mike D of The Beastie Boys, Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, Sony Music Chairman Don Ienner, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, and Henry Rollins former CEO of the RIAA.
After the theatrical run, AOL is set to release the doc through Video On Demand and make it available for streaming online via its AOL On website on July 1. This will be one of AOL’s first plunges into distributing original feature-length content online. If this experiment proves to be a success, it will serve as an ironically appropriate symbol of where the influence of digital media sharing is at its present state.
Originally announced to air on VH1 in 2013, the doc is now not expected to air on the channel until 2014.