Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson Team Up on Animated 'War is Over!' Animation Short Based on John and Yoko Song
Via The Hollywood Reporter:
In 2021, Sean Ono Lennon was looking for a way to make a music video for one of his parents’ signature songs and feeling creatively stuck—until he had a meeting with former Pixar animator Dave Mullins. The song, 1971’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over), is probably the most popular piece of music John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote as a couple. But beyond appearing reliably on playlists around the world every "Christmas, Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is also a peace anthem, and Sean wanted to reintroduce the song’s message. The song “just felt like it deserved some kind of piece to help get it out there for another generation,” Lennon says. The only problem was that every music video idea seemed to trivialize it. “It almost felt goofy,” Lennon says. “Like a Hallmark kind of thing. What are we going to show, a family sitting around a fire? It needed an actual narrative.”
Two years later, and with the fortuitous involvement of the Beatles‘ unofficial modern chronicler, Peter Jackson, Mullins has written and directed an ambitious, 11-minute animated movie about a chess game played across enemy lines with the help of a heroic carrier pigeon. The film, "War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko," quietly had an Oscar qualifying run this fall and is now looking for a distributor.
“Sean and I are friends and he was initially wanting some advice about his script,” says Jackson, who directed and produced the 2021 documentary series The Beatles: Get Back for Disney+ and made a music video for the Beatles song Now and Then, which was released in November. “I first heard from Sean a few weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, and it was clearly an important project for him. I remember telling him that an animated short film would take 12 to 14 months to make, and there was a very good chance the war in Ukraine will have resolved by the time it was finished. Here we are, and not only is the misery in Ukraine continuing with no end in sight, there’s now the war in Gaza.