By Pep Bonet
For 60 years, Botswana has stood as a peaceful nation in a turbulent continent. The Batswana have enjoyed freedom of expression, life, loves and passions, and among these a fervent heavy metal scene has grown nationwide.
Hellbangers is a film which makes a mockery of all the stereotypes ascribed to Africa.
It is a story of passion, positivity and togetherness through a music scene which is never less than loud, colorful and joyful.
Hellbangers follows Batswana heavy metal lovers from all over the country as they prepare to converge onto Ghanzi for the annual Winter Mania metal festival put on by the community leader, ex-police chief, bass-raging warrior and talisman, Vulture, from the extreme metal band Overthrust.
Containing footage of all the various Botswana metal families, supported by 30 in-depth interviews with characters ranging from Vulture to charismatic Charles Bronson-loving “cowboy" The Undertaker, and culminating in the metal madness of the Winter Mania show, Hellbangers is the story of people coming together and becoming who they really want to be rather than what the world believes they are.
Hellbangers smashes the myths and cliches of Africa only being a continent containing war, poverty and strife, instead showing that heavy metal brother -and sister- hood thrives with life and passion in the African continent.
In the short view, Hellbangers is a road movie about the physical journey of these various metal tribes to Ghanzi for the Winter Mania celebration, about their preparations, their reasons for going, their togetherness and what the heavy metal family means to them.
In the long view, Hellbangers stands as a timeless statement on the positive power of music and peace when the two are allowed to flourish side-by-side.
Hellbangers is about peace and community at it’s most colourful, extreme and fervent best, smashing cliches and building new legends to be explored further within a continent -and country- so often misjudged.