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Film lecturer’s heavy metal biopic set to make a big noise

14 October 2020

A University of Derby academic has enlisted some of music’s biggest – and loudest - stars to create a biopic of one of heavy metal’s most enduring bands.

Russell Cherrington, Senior Lecturer in Film and Video Production at the University, has completed ‘A Band of Brothers’, documenting the story of Los Angeles group Armored Saint, with the help of research funding from the University and the assistance of a number of his students.

During the three-year project, Russell, who has been a fan of the band since 1983, interviewed members of Metallica and Anthrax – two of heavy metal’s most successful groups – about their own admiration and memories of Armored Saint.

The trailer for the movie was released on YouTube this week, amassing 26,000 views in the first 24 hours. Plans are now in place in conjunction with the band’s record company, Metal Blade, for post-pandemic premieres of the feature length film in Los Angeles and New York, including live shows by the band, followed by showings in Berlin, London and, of course, Derby.

Russell explained: “I used to send off for the band’s cassettes, which were advertised in Kerrang! magazine. I became pen pals with them and every year they would send me an envelope with loads of cool stuff. I finally met them on their first trip to London in 1992 and have been friends with them ever since.

“I felt they had such an interesting story. They had been friends since the age of eight, been in bands from the age of 11, were signed by a record company at 17, and are still playing today. In that time, they have only lost one band member, who sadly died from leukaemia. They truly are a band of brothers.

”During my career, I had worked on lots of music projects, but this was a chance not only to do something I was really passionate about, but one which I felt could offer students an incredible experience of film-making.”

Russell pitched the idea to Ang Bartram, Professor of Contemporary Art at the University’s Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre, and was awarded a £6,000 research grant for the project.

He then enlisted the assistance of students Josh Timmins, Ben Evans, Chris Wynne and Jake Williams with camera and sound work on the film, both in the USA and in Derby. 

Russell said: “The support of the University has afforded this opportunity not just for me, but also for a number of its students and graduates to travel the USA to work on a real live project. It shows what a progressive and supportive place the University of Derby is.”

Professor Keith McLay, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Education at the University of Derby, said: “Arts research is all about increasing our understanding of what it means to create art, whether that be music or any other medium. This is a superb example of an academic pursuing a true labour of love through their research, and combining that with practical, real world experience for their students, which exemplifies the University of Derby’s mission as an applied university.”

Joey Vera, bass player with Armored Saint, said: “I've seen the trailer and it looks great. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the finished project.”

For more information about arts research at the University of Derby, visit our website.

Illustration for the movie Armored Saint: A Band of Brothers

For further information contact the Corporate Communications team at pressoffice@derby.ac.uk or call 01332 593419.