Telling harsh truths about the modern music business, this riveting and award-winning documentary gives intimate access to singer/actor Jared Leto ("Requiem for a Dream," "Dallas Buyers ... See full summary »


(as Bartholomew Cubbins)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Tomo Milicevic ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Irving Azoff ...
Himself - Interviewee
Himself - Interviewee
Himself - Interviewee
Angelica Cob-Baehler ...
Herself - Interviewee
Sonny DiPerri ...
Himself - Interviewee
Daniel Ek ...
Himself - Interviewee
Robert Ezrin ...
Himself - Interviewee
Himself - Cameo
Jason Flom ...
Himself - Interviewee
Flood ...
Himself - Interviewee
Jeff Kempler ...
Himself - Interviewee
Himself - Interviewee


Telling harsh truths about the modern music business, this riveting and award-winning documentary gives intimate access to singer/actor Jared Leto ("Requiem for a Dream," "Dallas Buyers Club") and his band Thirty Seconds to Mars as they fight a relentless lawsuit with record label Virgin/EMI and write songs for their album "This Is War." Opening up his life for the camera during months of excruciating pressures, Leto reveals the struggles his band must face over questions of art, money and integrity. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | Music

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Release Date:

3 December 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Артефакт  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The band's 3rd album titled This is war because of EMI. Most of the songs from this period inspired Leto to perform Closer To The Edge with a lyric containing "birth of song death of a dream", because the record label was trying to destroy them in every facet of their art and take their dream away. See more »

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User Reviews

Artifact Movie Review
23 December 2013 | by (Charlotte, NC) – See all my reviews

This review is slightly different from the normal films adapted from literature that I include on my blog. But this particular film is inspired by true events by a worldwide, well-know alternative rock band and can be used as a valuable tool to anyone contemplating a recording contract and as such is an adaptation (use your own definition of the word here). Keep in mind that not all bands experience what this band has encountered and not all record companies are this greed based. But, after working on their documentary film Artifact for a number of years, Thirty Seconds to Mars has released this 2012 film to the general public. It can be found in some theaters but is available through iTunes as a rental or for purchase in SD or HD. It is an interesting film which shows the band's fight with EMI/Virgin Records, their record label, and the greed of this company and some other parts of the record industry. It might be difficult for some to feel sorry for this world famous band, believing that they have earned a lot of money through the sale of their music, but if the truth be told (and with all the interviews throughout the film who will attest to it) this band was sued by their record company for thirty million dollars and to date have not received any compensation for their albums. This would explain why they are on the road, touring around the world, in order to receive some compensation for their labors. They hold the record for the most days out on tour at 311! Originally, the film was to document the making of their third studio album, eventually entitled This is War, based on the fight with the record label. What transpired throughout all of this was a story of how the band had to finance, by themselves, this album and their struggle with their record company and the ludicrous breach of contract lawsuit of $30 million, which started in 2008. It should be noted here that there is a labor law in California, where the band is based, that states no contract can be longer than seven years. Thirty Seconds to Mars in 2008 had been under contract to EMI for nine years and unfortunately, they had not be paid for their previous two records and were notified that they were in debt to the company. The film breaks down the horrid process which for all intensive purposes can and does hold some bands financially prisoner. Due to this knowledge, Thirty Seconds to Mars, considering the California law, tried to terminate what they considered an unfair contract, but were informed that they did not produce the required five albums that the contract specified and were then sued for the $30 million by Virgin Records. There is a larger issue involved here that the film attempts to document which is what the front man for the band, Jared Leto, states is the unfairness and lack of artistic freedom the musicians are confronting. It is obvious that he cares greatly about this issue and even though the issue with the record company was resolved and, as of today, EMI has been purchased and sold off, there still remains this issue of unfairness and lack of freedom along with the possibility of being sued and not being compensated for artist's art, which is what music is. The film was directed by Leto under the pseudonym of Bartholomew Cubbins, a Dr. Seuss character, and it has won some awards. Leto has also directed other films, mostly music videos under the same name. But as well as this film contains lots of very good substance and content, it has the appearance of a music video and not a documentary film. Yes, it contains the necessary information to inform and it shows the passion of the topic being discussed, but it has too much emotion. Documentary films do just that…document and inform. In my estimation, it would have been better served if an entirely different production team had been hired…from the directing, to the camera work, to the editing. And as well as iTunes is number one for marketing, a larger distribution would have helped this film reach a bigger audience. Keep in mind, not all record companies work the way Thirty Seconds to Mars states, but as I have already said, it is a good film to watch and learn from.

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