When I found out that this year the Hamilton Film Festival (HFF) is screening a documentary featuring Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden I was definitely intrigued.
After watching the trailer for Scream For Me Sarajevo, I still wanted to know more. To that end, I recently had the chance to speak with HFF executive director Nathan Fleet. As it turns out, Fleet is a longtime rock and heavy metal fan, and a musician himself, and it’s thanks to him that this documentary is part of HFF 2017.
The music-themed 2017 edition of the Hamilton Film Festival kicks off November 4 with Nathan Fleet in live performance, backed by a full band and promoting a new album of original material. Scream For Me Sarajevo screens one week later, marking – along with a concert from Hamilton locals Prismind – the penultimate night of the fest.
In conversation with Nathan Fleet of Hamilton Film Festival
HELLBOUND: What can people expect to hear at the [opening] concert or on your CD?
NATHAN FLEET: This album is a rock CD – it’s pretty much straight up rock. My background for rock music really was in the 80s, 80s British metal, so like Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead. That was really what I grew up with. So when I was writing a lot of these riffs, that kind of came back into mind. I wanted these cool guitar riffs and melodic guitar solos that seem to have disappeared a lot with modern rock bands. …
HB: Scream For Me Sarajevo – how did you find out about the movie or choose it from all the submissions?
NF: I had heard about it maybe last year, and I kept my eye on it, and I kept reaching out to the filmmakers, saying, ‘Hey, if you’re gonna release this, I have a film festival in Hamilton, I’m a huge fan of Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson… I would love to screen it. And eventually they got back to me and they said, ‘We haven’t screened it in Canada yet, and we’d like to explore that idea.’ And so they submitted the film, and I watched it and instantly fell in love with it, and that was it. I’m like, ‘Yep, I’m absolutely programming this movie. It’s fantastic. And I didn’t even know about the story. I didn’t realize that this event had taken place, that Bruce Dickinson had decided to put on this kind of underground concert during a siege in Sarajevo when he was advised not to do it because their lives would be in danger because there’s literally a war going on right outside. So they did it in this secret venue. It wasn’t advertised – it was like word of mouth, and all these people in town got wind of the concert and it really changed their lives because they all said they just felt normal for that two hour time period. They just felt like people again and the documentary, the heart of it, is really about the power of music to kind of move people that way …
So the documentary is then and now. There’s a lot of footage of the event and interviews back then and also interviews with the band members now and it’s fantastic.
This is done. I’m gonna program this. And then I thought, what better way to celebrate than to actually have a metal band playing. That’s when I came across Prismind. …
Extended interview audio:
After I spoke with Nathan Fleet, HFF made an exciting announcement: Alex Elena, former Bruce Dickinson drummer, will travel from Los Angeles to attend the screening of SCREAM FOR ME SARAJEVO on Saturday, November 11, at The Zoetic in Hamilton. Alex Elena was there in Sarajevo, playing in the concert that took place during the siege, and is featured prominently in the documentary.
Scream For Me Sarajevo is making its Canadian debut on November 11 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, alongside a performance of local metal band Prismind.