Metal fans seek solace in Patrik Bergh's brilliant new short
Quest for Fire, a funny new film from the 76 Ltd director centres on a support group for maligned heavy metal fans.
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Long black hair, even longer black trench coat and a propensity to stick their tongues out while playing air guitar; we all know what heavy metal fans are like, don't we?
Well, in Patrik Bergh's fantastic new short film, Quest for Fire, those fans are given a chance to bemoan their musical standing in a safe and supportive environment. Here Bergh [pictured below] , explains the genesis of the film and explains why metal fans are misunderstood.
The title is also a metaphor for the fire that burns within all the characters, the true passion for metal!
Above: 76 Ltd director Patrik Bergh
Where did the idea for Quest of Fire come from?
A very good friend of mine is a complete metal nut. He was telling me how much his wife hates his passion for heavy metal so much that he now only listens to it when she’s not around. It’s like a drug for him that he can’t live without and he hides it from his own wife.
I think that this love for music, a genre that so many people despise or don’t understand, is fascinating. I immediately pictured this self-help group for metal heads and wrote down a bunch of ideas the next day. I then edited the script down to two main stories.
Is metal music something you have a love for?
As a teenager, absolutely, yes. I still listen to it occasionally and have a huge fascination in the culture of heavy metal and its fan base. There’s nothing quite like it.
Do you think metal heads are an outsider tribe and is that what attracted you to them?
Absolutely. Most people just don’t get metal and can even get pretty offended by it. I remember being at a dinner party and everyone was being DJ on Spotify and playing all kinds of pop. I decided to mix it up a bit and put on this heavy metal track (Take Hold of the Flame by Queensryche) and everyone at the party got seriously put off and angry.
Being a true metal fan demands dedication. For genuine fans it’s extremely real, not an act or a trend. They are passionate about the music and incredibly loyal to the bands. More so than most genres.
Being a true metal fan demands dedication. For genuine fans it’s extremely real, not an act or a trend.
Can you tell us a bit about the casting; the two guys who relay their stories are great?
The casting process was long and difficult! To me, it was so important that the performances felt genuine but not morose. There had to be an element of humour about it too.
Some actors auditioned for the first role, and it was so heavy and depressing. And then others came and totally hammed it up. Finding the balance somewhere in between was extremely important to me. It had to be funny, yet heartfelt. We must be able to laugh at these characters but also feel for them.
At first, we saw a lot of people who were actual metal fans but none of them were actually good enough. And in the end, I realised that was irrelevant. Instead it was about finding two great actors who we could feel empathy with.
When writing the script, I always had in mind an image of starting close on a face that looked tired and worn. A face that when we looked at it we would from the get-go be thinking ‘what’s up with him?!’”
The end song is I Wanna Rock, and was a huge hit in the mid 80s. It’s a pretty cheesy song, but the lyrics are perfect for the film and self-explanatory.
Why did you choose Quest for Fire as the title?
Quest for Fire is an Iron Maiden song the main character plays at his kids’ school disco. The title is also a metaphor for the fire that burns within all the characters, the true passion for metal!
I'm afraid I don't know what the lyrics sung at the end are (it doesn't seem to be Quest for Fire, according to Google!); what are they and why were they chosen?
The end song is I Wanna Rock by Twisted Sisters and was a huge hit in the mid 80s. It’s a pretty cheesy song to be honest, but the lyrics are perfect for the film and self-explanatory.
It’s an anthem against everyone who doesn’t like rock music basically! “Tell me not to play, Well, all I got to say when you tell me not to play I say No! No! No! No! So, if you ask me why I like the way I play it There's only one thing I can say to you, I wanna rock.”
Also, was it hard to get clearance for them?
We contacted the record label directly for clearance of I Wanna Rock. They wanted to see a copy of the film and then charged us the going rate for short films.
When did you shoot the film?
We shot the film last summer during the hottest day of the year and, let me tell you, spandex trousers are hot! Our ‘spandex’ actor sat in his underwear when we shot his close-ups!