John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s classic holiday tune, “Happy Christmas (War Is Over),” has inspired a new animated short film, spearheaded by the couple’s son Sean Ono Lennon.
Sean tells The Hollywood Reporter that his goal with the movie is to remind folks the tune is not only a holiday song, but a song about peace. He says it “just felt like it deserved some kind of piece to help get it out there for another generation,” noting previous video ideas for the song “almost felt goofy.”
After discussing his feelings about the project with Pixar animator Dave Mullins, John and Yoko became inspired by the World War I Christmas truce between British and German soldiers, who wound up playing soccer together. Mullins wrote and directed the film, working with Peter Jackson and his visual effects company, WetaFX, on the animation.
The 11-minute War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko follows a game of chess, with a heroic carrier pigeon helping the game continue across enemy lines. It ends with the classic tune playing over the closing credits.
“For me, it’s very sad that my parents’ message of peace and love is still relevant to this day. It seems like such an old story,” Sean says, adding, “It’s something I was raised to believe and I still believe it.”
War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko had a brief run in theaters in the fall in order to qualify for Oscar contention. As of now, there’s no word on when it will get a wide release, as it’s currently looking for a distributor.
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