30 Seconds to Mars Documentary Wins People’s Choice Award at Toronto

3:42 PM PST 09/19/2012 by C. Molly Smith
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Jared Leto

Jared Leto directed "Artifact," which chronicles his band’s dispute with EMI.

30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto prevails in his band’s legal feud with Virgin/EMI, at least to some degree: His film Artifact claimed the People’s Choice Award for documentaries at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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Artifact, which Leto directed under his Seussian pseudonym of Bartholomew Cubbins, skewers the modern music industry as it charts the legal dispute between the popular rock band and its record label. The film chronicles the aftermath of 30 Seconds being hit with a $30 million breach-of-contract suit filed by label giant EMI in 2008, after the band tried to exit its contract over a royalties dispute. Leto and his bandmates -- brother Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic -- sink into debt as they work with producer Flood to create the poignantly titled 2009 album This Is War, meeting with lawyers between recording sessions.

It’s not all bad for Leto and his ragtag crew of rock 'n' rollers, though: 30 Seconds to Mars and EMI signed a "more favorable deal," which permitted the release of Artifact. And if you can capitalize on hardships by making a certified-gold album and award-winning documentary, that’s not really so bad, is it?

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