In the new documentary Jingle Bell Rocks! Christmas music junkie Mitchell Kezin hits the road to track down the musicians, DJs, critics and collectors behind his most cherished seasonal songs. In his “quest to unearth the stories behind 12 of the wildest, weirdest and most poignant Christmas songs you’ve likely never heard” he interviews Dr. Demento, Low, Run DMC’s Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, El Vez, John Waters, Chicago rock promoter Andy Cirzan, New York hip hop archivist/ writer Bill Adler, Schoolhouse Rock creator (and Miles Davis’ “Blue Xmas” collaborator) Bob Dorough, Canadian radio legend David Wisdom, The Flaming Lips, and more. Equal parts social history, pop culture pilgrimage and revealing character study, Jingle Bell Rocks! official description pins it as “a trippy, cinematic sleighride into the strange and sublime universe of alternative and underground Christmas music.”
Watch the trailer below:
Jingle Bell Rocks! world premiered November 24, 2013 at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, began select screening in Canada on December 6th and streamed across Canada as a $4.99 webcast on December 20th. Although its theatrical release isn’t until Thanksgiving 2014, it’s U.S. premiere is Friday, March 28, 2014 at the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival with additional screening that Saturday and Sunday (check the schedule here; college students can attend for free). Jingle Bell Rocks! will continue to screen US and European film fests, big and small, throughout this year, including Chicago International Movies and Music Festival on Saturday, May 3 from 1-3 pm (more details are here).
Mitchell shot the The Flaming Lips’ segments for the film last March, as documented in the photos and tweets here. After the initial shoot George Salsibury filmed Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd performing a special version of “A Change At Christmas (Say It Isn’t So)” exclusively for Jingle Bell Rocks! Aside from its inclusion in the film it may also be released at Christmas 7″ at the end of this year. Wayne’s interview from his home and Pink Floor Studio is spliced throughout the out the entire film, which also features material on the Lips sci-fi movie Christmas On Mars.
Stills from the film follow below.