EXCLUSIVE: Freestyle Digital Media has picked up worldwide rights to the music documentary The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon, slating it for release March 17 across VOD platforms.
The film written and directed by Matt Eskey, in his feature debut, tells the true story of Neill Kirby McMillan, Jr., who comes of age in Danville, VA, listening to records from his father’s soul radio station and plotting his escape from the confines of conservative small-town life.
During an early 1980s cross-country bicycle trip, Kirby experiences The Mojo Revelation and becomes “Mojo Nixon” — a primitive, blues-inspired musician. Mojo then teams up with the enigmatic Skid Roper to form an outrageous musical duo, with relentless touring, a record deal and college radio airplay leading to unexpected mainstream success during the golden age of MTV. Their song “Elvis Is Everywhere” released in 1987 (on the 10th anniversary of Presley’s death) becomes a cult phenomenon, but his next single is banned, and Mojo faces a decision that could jeopardize his career.
World premiering at last year’s SXSW Film Festival, The Mojo Manifesto features sit-downs not only with Nixon, but also with creatives including Bullethead, Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, Jim Dickinson, Winona Ryder — who starred as Debbie Gibson in the video for that banned song — X’s John Doe, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Kinky Friedman, Todd Snider, Steve Poltz, Eric Ambel and Bill Davis. The pic’s producers are Eva Radke and Sal Owen.
“First off, it’s amazing to me that it’s a good movie. The movie doesn’t suck,” the film’s subject Nixon deadpans. “And second off, my bass player made the movie! It tells the story of my life, and it’s a parable about rock & roll, and what rock & roll is and isn’t — there’s just one weirdo nutjob after another!
“At its core,” Nixon continues, “The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon is a story about weirdos and nutjobs and Elvis and rock ‘n roll!”
“Oh, yeah! It’s a parade of freaks and weirdos, Country Dick Montana, Jim Dickinson….” adds Eskey. “I heard a million stories in the back of the van over the years that I knew I had to tell.”
Nixon also hosts a daily show on the Outlaw Country channel at SiriusXM Satellite Radio, an outlet he’s been with since the ’00s.
The digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, Freestyle Digital Media is a multi-platform distributor with direct partnerships across all major cable, digital and streaming platforms. Notable recent releases from the company include the drama Dear Zoe starring Stranger Things breakout Sadie Sink; the teen musical Best Summer Ever, featuring a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities, which was produced by Jamie Lee Curtis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson; the rom-com The Wedding Year starring Sarah Hyland and Anna Camp; the drama The Last Photograph led by Danny Huston; the comedic thriller Berserk with Nick Cannon; and the drama Untogether starring Jamie Dornan, Jemima Kirke, Lola Kirke, Ben Mendelsohn, Alice Eve and Billy Crystal.
Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire The Mojo Manifesto directly with the filmmakers.
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