A new animated short film, drawing inspiration from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s iconic 1971 holiday song and peace anthem, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” recently underwent a series of screenings to qualify for an Oscar nomination. Currently, the film is actively seeking distributors, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. Titled “War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko,” this creative venture originated from the vision of the famous couple’s son, Sean Lennon. In 2021, Sean expressed his desire to bring the song’s message of peace to life through the medium of film.
“[It] just felt like it deserved some kind of representation to introduce it to another generation,” Sean shared with The Hollywood Reporter, emphasizing that he aimed to steer clear of a Hallmark-style atmosphere in the movie. The project took flight when Lennon connected with former Pixar animator Dave Mullins, known for his work on films like Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Up, as well as writing and directing the 2017 short film Lou. The film’s narrative took shape during discussions between Lennon and Mullins, focusing on a Christmas truce during World War I where British and German troops engaged in a friendly game of soccer.
Co-written by Lennon and Mullins and directed by Mullins, the War Is Over! film unfolds in an alternate World War I reality, narrating the tale of soldiers from opposing sides engaged in a remote game of chess facilitated by a courageous carrier pigeon. Peter Jackson, renowned for directing The Beatles: Get Back docuseries and the Fab Four’s recent “Now and Then” music video, offered guidance to Lennon during the film’s creation. Jackson’s visual effects company, WetaFX, also played a role in the production.
The 11-minute film boasts a score by Oscar-nominated Thomas Newman, recognized for his work on films such as The Shawshank Redemption, WALL-E, Finding Nemo, and 1917. Interestingly, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is reserved for the closing credits. Reflecting on the persisting global military conflicts, including those in areas like Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, Lennon expressed to The Hollywood Reporter that it’s “very sad that my parents’ message of peace and love is still relevant to this day.”
He acknowledged the sensitivity surrounding the call for peace, particularly in the face of ongoing global challenges. Lennon remarked, “Some people are very sensitive about this message of peace today. They feel like it’s a denial of peoples’ pain. And I am not criticizing anyone. I’m saying I really believe in resolving problems peacefully as a concept, even though it sounds very naive. It’s something I was raised to believe and I still believe it.”
For more details about War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko and to watch the film’s first trailer, visit Electroleague.com.