Get ready for a Christmas spectacular that is sure to become a household favorite. My family and I love cozying up and watching Christmas movies. You are going to want to add this one to your list! A musical adventure and a visual spectacle for the ages, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a wholly fresh and spirited family holiday event. I had the chance to speak with the Director & Producer of this film, and I wanted to share some of the magic that makes this movie what it is!
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – Inside The Magic!
- Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is 20 years in the making! Director David E. Talbert and his and wife, Lyn Sisson-Talbert — who has produced all of Talbert’s plays and films — David set about turning the idea into a musical that was initially intended for the stage. He started writing the first iterations of Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey in 1998
- It was very important to both David & Lyn to have a strong black presence. They made the conscious decision to populate their story — which takes place during the Victorian era from the 1860s to the 1890s in the imaginary town of Cobbleton —with all races while having a Black family at its center. “It was important to us to introduce history in a more inclusive package,” says Talbert. “It was important to show a representation of people of all colors and cultures, but through the prism of my being an African American. I wanted to infuse that bit of soul, the texture of African culture, into this world.”
- You will see and hear all genres of song and dance in the film. This was done on purpose to be inclusive and celebratory, while highlighting African dance and R&B.
- John Legend sent in “Make It Work,” a track that Talbert calls his film’s 11 o’clock song — a musical theater term for a song that takes place late in the second act (at around 11 o’clock) when the audience needs to be woken up. “I needed an 11 o’clock song and that’s what he gave us. It was the tide that lifted all boats.”
- Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey was filmed at Arborfield Studios, UK from May to August 2019.
- Production Designer Gavin Bocquet took care to create two distinct periods 30 years apart, distinguishing them with subtle, yet vital markers of time. He used gaslights in the streets of Cobbleton in the 1860s and switched to electric lights after the story progressed to the 1890s. The same applied to the vehicles, which evolved from horse-drawn carriages to cars as a way of visually cueing the audience in that the times had changed.
- STEM is incorporated throughout the film. This was dones so kids who maybe are not interested din dance or song, can see themselves in problem solving and math.
- The movie pays tribute to those who came before them. “All the stores are named after Black inventors, scientists, or people of color who were innovators in their field,” says Talbert. “You’ll see North Star in the town square a lot. That’s of course the publication that was part of the Underground Railroad. In the alleyway there’s Tharpe’s Music & Co. named after Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who’s considered the godmother of rock and roll. There’s George Washington Carver, of course.” The list also includes A.M. Woods Confec- tioner, named after Talbert’s great grandmother, Annie Mae Woods, who was one of the founding members of the Pentecostal movement in Washington, D.C., and The Sisson Arms, which features a framed picture of Sisson-Talbert’s father, Dr. Lonnie Sisson, who was the first Black optometrist in the state of Nevada.
- Sharon Martin took enormous care in reimagining what Black hairstyles would have looked like in the Victorian era had history been different. “I think that’s what makes this film so special is because you’re finally, finally seeing Black characters look as gorgeous as they do in these elaborate Victorian costumes and hairstyles. I’d like to think if I was alive during this reimagined time, I’d be quite fancy,” says Martin.
- The glowing formulas that appear when Jeronicus and Journey work out calculations in their heads were inspired by the graphics seen in Dr. Strange.
- The Director and Producer hope the themes of chasing your dreams, it’s not too late, determination, inspiration and forgiveness stir up those watching it.
So much time, thought, love and care went into making this movie the magical experience that it is. I hope young African American children will watch this with great joy, seeing such an amazing Black cast star in a Christmas Musical. I hope those kids who love music instantly download the soundtrack and really hear the words that are being sung. I hope all the thinkers and problem solvers are inspired by the STEM and cool inventions. I hope that anyone holding onto hurt in their lives, or a forgotten dream, take a leap of faith and discover the square root of possible!
‘ Cause the square root of impossible is possible in me.