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Mondo metal 

Global Metal, a new documentary released this week, moshes with the universality of heavy metal.

Scot McFadyen's been up and at it since seven this morning, starting his day on the court. "We just played two hours of tennis this morning and that gets us going," he says about the latest in his regular matches with Sam Dunn, without a trace of tiredness in his tone on the line from his home in Toronto.

Aside from athletic duels for domination, McFadyen and Dunn have together written, directed and produced two documentaries about their other shared passion: metal. Their first, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, came out in 2005 and played the Atlantic Film Festival that year. The second, Global Metal, out this week on DVD, premiered this past June at the NXNE Festival in Toronto. (McFadyen and Dunn were interviewed shortly after the launch and right before going to Montreal for a screening there.)

"We're pretty competitive," McFadyen admits, at least about the tennis. "Sam recently got a new racquet so it's changed his game a bit. And I busted my racquet because I was pissed off. It's a long story."

"We got to play with a couple guys from Iron Maiden a couple weekends ago. Steve Harris (bassist) and Adrian Smith (guitar)," he says, adding nonchalantly, "We've played with them a bunch of times."

Tennis. With members of Maiden. "We spent seven weeks on their private plane going around the world with them," McFadyen says. He and Dunn are "deep into editing now" on a documentary about the UK band that brought the world tunes including "Two Minutes to Midnight" and "Run to the Hills."

It's that kind of access and connection to both the creators and fans of the music that characterizes the filmmakers' work on screen. So, you have the fury and excitement of an Iron Maiden concert in Bangalore, India, cut with conversations with Indian metal scene-builders and Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson. Taken together, you're reminded of the strength of this international community and the thoughtfulness and sensitivity that characterizes it.

"It was my experience in high school that all the metalheads were pretty nice guys," says McFadyen, who grew up in Toronto and met Dunn when he went out west to the University of Victoria. McFadyen thinks for most metal fans a genuine awareness, respect and compassion for people "overrides wanting to appear badass."

Around the world, he says, "a lot of it is theatrics. They get in there, let the steam off, have fun and then go about their lives."

According to Dunn, "When you're first getting into metal as a young person it can feel quite isolating. You feel like you're the only kid on the block wearing a Morbid Angel t-shirt---because you probably are. I was. But as you get more into the music and you meet more people, it's like, 'fuck, finally I found someone who loves the first Obituary record as much as I do. This guy's gonna be a friend for life.'"

Dunn, who does the narration and appears on camera in both films, and McFadyen appear to have made friends for life around the globe. In India, for example, Dunn's seen receiving a gift of spiritual significance, a necklace, from his hosts there, after clips where they consider the coexistence of spirituality---religion, faith---and metal. "There's an eagerness and also a pride that metalheads have about their own scenes," Dunn explains.

"I think it's also tied to the fact that through a lot of the media we get very single-minded portrayals of these countries. Indonesia: We just hear of tsunamis. China: All we hear about is the spectre of Communism. India: All we hear about is call centres or poverty."

In fact, at the NXNE premiere in June, a young metal fan stood up during the Q&A that followed the film to say, through tears, that the scenes with Tehran fans echoed her experience and memory of discovering the music with friends in the country so often vilified, once as part of the axis of evil.

Besides the Maiden doc, the duo of Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen is also already at work on a feature on Rush. Apparently Geddy Lee and Alex Liefson are avid tennis players. "Basically any band that's into tennis...," jokes McFadyen. "Alex and Geddy play tennis all the time. Every time they go to LA they play with Dr. Phil. For some reason they play doubles with him and this other guy." a

Global Metal is available on DVD.

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