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Yoko Ono’s timeless message of home, peace and love, “MY HOMETOWN”, is now an acclaimed animated short, produced and directed by Jerry Levitan (Producer of the Academy Award nominated and Emmy winning “I Met The Walrus”) and Terry Tompkins and The Eggplant.

“MY HOMETOWN” is narrated by Yoko Ono and features her song “Remember Love” (the B-Side of Plastic Ono Band’s “Give Peace A Chance”) as the soundtrack for the film.

Jerry Levitan says: “To think that my meeting with John Lennon and Yoko Ono back in 1969 when I was 14, has taken me to the Oscars, the Emmys and now a project based on Yoko’s work is simply incredible.”

The film opened the prestigious Without Borders Film Festival (Senza Frontiere) in Spoleto, Italy in July, 2011 and is circulating among film festivals around the world.

You can watch the whole film, in full, above. Just press play.
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by Yoko Ono

Do you know where your hometown is?
Your hometown is a place you choose.

Get a map of the world.
Pin a little flag on a place on the map you’d like to go to.
The place you’ve put your flag is your hometown.

Let’s find a way to make this flag something you’ll be proud of.
Start by giving your hometown a name you want to call it by.
Find out some things about your hometown
Make a scrapbook of images and people from your hometown, and add your comments about them
Look after your hometown in your mind.
Send it lots of love.

In your mind help anyone there who needs help.
If there are any broken-down houses, mend them in your mind
If there are any people who are ill, make them better in your mind
If any of the streets need cleaning, clean it in your mind
If there are any children who are crying, wipe their tears away in your mind

Find out about the past and present of your hometown.
If anything terrible has ever happened there, think about it, and try to take away the pain that’s still there.
If there’s something terrible going on there now, focus your thoughts on it, and try to take away all the pain.

Quietly tell your best friends about the problems of your hometown, and ask them to solve them in their minds.
Put up some nice photos of your hometown in your room.
Write a diary about your hometown.
Keep sending your powerful energy to your hometown until more people start to smile and laugh and enjoy themselves.
Keep going until your efforts start to make things better in your hometown.
One day we’ll realize that all the towns in the world are someone’s hometown.

by Yoko Ono

Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to sing.
Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to meet.
Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to live.
Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to dream.

Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to see.
Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to meet.
Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to live.
Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to tie.

Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to live.
Remember love, remember love, love is what it takes to tie.
Remember love, remember love, love
Remember love.


Produced and Directed by Jerry Levitan & Terry Tompkins

“My Hometown” by Yoko Ono © 2009 Yoko Ono
Narration: Yoko Ono
“Remember Love” written by Yoko Ono ©1969 Courtesy of Yoko Ono Lennon.

Visual & Animation Director: Sharmil Halaldeen
Executive Producers: Jerry Levitan, Dave Conlon, Steve D’Angelo, Rocco Gagliese, Terry Tompkins.

Illustrations: Rebecca Levitan
Score: Stefano D’Angelo
Animators: Sharmil Halaldeen, Michael Lee Huerto, Aaron Magpayo
Backgrounds: Faez Alidousti, Sharmil Halaldeen
Compositing: Sharmil Halaldeen, Michael Lee Huerto

Additional Vocals: Lisa Boudreau, Julia D’Angelo
Sound Engineering for Yoko Ono Narration: David Schoenwetter
Audio Mix: Nathan Handy
Sound Design: Joe Coupal

Color Grading: Optix Digital Post
Thanks to: Jonas Herbsman, Amanda Keeley & Yoko Ono.

An Eggplant Production
© Jerry Levitan & Eggplant LF Inc. 2011.

The teenaged Jerry Levitan, seated in foreground, with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Toronto in 1969. Jeff Goode/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

Yoko Ono inspires locally produced cartoon

By Raju Mudhar, Entertainment Reporter,

For Jerry Levitan, meeting John Lennon and Yoko Ono when he was 14 was a life-altering experience that continues to enrich his life. That’s one reason why he continues to spread their message through art.

Now 57, Levitan, a local lawyer, children’s entertainer and Emmy Award-winning producer of the 2009 animated short I Met The Walrus, has helped produce another animated short based on Ono’s work.

Called My Hometown, it’s based on a little-known piece of prose written by Ono and is soundtracked by her “Remember Love,” the B-side to “Give Peace a Chance.” Illustrated by his daughter, Rebecca Levitan, it was co-produced by Terry Tompkins of Eggplant, a local production company. The short debuted in July at the Without Borders Film Festival in Spoleto, Italy.

“It’s a great message. It’s classic Yoko, a simple but profound message of peace, love, home and all those things,” says Levitan about the piece. “I have my history with John and Yoko through the I am the Walrus experience, which brought me closer to Yoko. I was in touch with her for both the short and the book I wrote about it, so I was always open to doing projects with Yoko.

“Hey, you know, the 14-year-old Jerry Levitan was an ardent supporter of The Beatles and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I would defend their honour in the schoolyard when I was in my teens, so it is just a great sense of pride all this time later I can collaborate with her.”

I Am the Walrus was based on Levitan’s 1969 interview with Lennon at the King Edward Hotel, recorded just days before John and Yoko’s famous bed-in in Montreal.

My Hometown came out of another project that Levitan is working on, a TV show based on his Sir Jerry children’s entertainer character. He’s produced a pilot and, as part of that project, wanted each episode to feature an animation based on Ono’s work. After creating a test animation piece based on one of her poems, they had the idea to create something longer, which resulted in My Hometown, which she consented to voice.

Ono said via email she is “delighted” by the final result.

One of the main characters in the piece seems to bear a striking resemblance to her son Sean Lennon, although Levitan says that it is completely unintentional.

“It’s funny, so many people have thought that there’s significance in the young person. In fact, Terry and the people at Eggplant think it’s a girl. Somebody in the media asked if it was Yoko, but the reality is that Rebecca patterned it after the young Jerry Levitan of 14.”

The short is having its local debut Tuesday night at a celebration at the Tattoo Rock Parlour with local musicians, including Edwin and Tom Wilson of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, doing covers of Ono’s music.

Canadian producer Jerry Levitan who collaborated with Yoko Ono on an animated sort film that is on the short list for an Oscar nomination. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)

Levitan presents Ono cartoon

by Jim Slotek, QMI Agency, Toronto Sun

For erstwhile Oscar nominee Jerry Levitan, the next adventure began with the words, “And now: a Yoko Ono cartoon.”

The Toronto lawyer/children’s entertainer/producer had already gained fame with I Met the Walrus, the Oscar-nominated animated short about his 1969 interview, at age 14, with John Lennon at Toronto’s King Edward Hotel.

The film spun off a book, and a warm relationship with the ex-Beatle’s widow, born of a tearful embrace at their first meeting after the film’s release.

“Yoko was unbelievably supportive of my book,” Levitan recalls in an interview promoting the launch of My Hometown, an animated short that was on the Oscar eligibility shortlist (but fell short of the whittled down list of 10 last week).

My Hometown is based on an Ono poem (narrated by her) and features Remember Love, which was her song on the B side of the single Give Peace a Chance.

The film is being launched Tuesday at Toronto’s Tattoo Rock Parlour, with a bevy of artists singing Yoko Ono covers (including Edwin of I Mother Earth and Tom Wilson of Blackie & The Rodeo Kings).

“She was very generous in giving access, and she gave a quote that’s on the back of my book that I didn’t even ask for. After that, I got the idea of doing some projects with her.”

But it was in Levitan’s incarnation as kids’ entertainer Sir Jerry that the relationship was taken to a new level. He’d been working with the Canadian production house Eggplant on a pilot for a Sir Jerry TV show, “which we’ve actually filmed. I get along great with these guys.

“And we’re bouncing around ideas for stuff, and we came up with, ‘Let’s have a Yoko Ono cartoon!’ So I approached Yoko and she said yes, and we filmed a 30 second (animated piece) of a poem called Tunafish Sandwich Pieces. And Daniel Johnson (the eccentric singer-songwriter) narrated.

“She said, ‘I could do other ones.’ So it became part of the pitch, in every episode, ‘and now a Yoko Ono cartoon.’

“Then Terry (Tompkins of Eggplant) and I had this idea of doing something bigger. And we found My Hometown. Yoko is very prolific and if you follow her on Twitter, every day she has an instructional thing, ‘Look at the sky, dig a hole in your garden, collect the sunshine,’ that kind of thing. We really scavenged around and we found this very obscure thing she wrote for a friend’s art gallery showing in Italy in 2009.”

The poem begins, ” ‘Do you know where your hometown is? Your hometown is a place you choose. Get a map of the world. Pin a little flag on a place on the map you’d like to go. The place you’ve put your flag is your hometown.’

“That was the genesis of it. We thought the message was great. It had such a sweet simple aspect. And she just loved what we did with it.

A family affair, My Hometown features illustrations by Levitan’s daughter Rebecca, 27, a student at the San Francisco Institute for the Arts. “She also did illustrations for Tunafish Sandwich Pieces. She’s blown away that her work is in Yoko’s cartoons.”

My Hometown exposes audiences to a more melodic Yoko. “It was her sweetest vocal performance and the guitar playing is John picking like he did on Dear Prudence and Here Comes the Sun King, It’s very familiar Lennon guitar,” Levitan says.

Tuesday’s launch will be recorded for presentation to Ono. “She’s been invited, she hasn’t said no,” Levitan says. “It doesn’t necessarily mean she’s coming. I’ve learned if she doesn’t want to do something, she says no very quickly.