See Xmas On Mars In Theaters!
See the movie in the Theaters in Madison, Wisconsin at The Orpheum, October 21-24
The film tells the story of the experiences of Major Syrtis during the first Christmas on a newly-colonized Mars. Coyne has described the film as “Maybe Eraserhead or Dead Man crossed with some kind of fantasy and space aspects, like The Wizard of Oz and maybe A Space Odyssey, except done without real actors or money, and set at Christmas-time. The story that unfolds is intended to hint at childlike magic within a tragic and realistic situation.”
Coyne elaborated to Rolling Stone magazine: “It’s sometime in the future, Mars has been sort of conquered and there’s a space station on it but the space program has gone into decline and these people are kind of stuck up there. They’re in the process of converting the spaceships that took them there into a place to live in and that process doesn’t go too smoothly. The whole thing ends up very dilapidated, very un-futuristic, un-‘2001’. There’s an element of confidence among the scientists, but the overall view is that things seem kind of doomed.”
The main character, Major Syrtis (played by Steven Drozd, the band’s multi-instrumentalist and arranger/composer), is trying to organise a Christmas pageant to celebrate the birth of the first colonist baby. Coyne explains that this birth is also special for other reasons, “The hype they’ve added to this Mars mission is that this beautiful woman is giving birth to this sort of artificial impregnation from this bubble that she wears on her stomach, which is the way infants are gonna be born in the future. It’s all scientifically timed so she gives birth to this baby the second it hits midnight on Christmas. So it’s symbolically the beginning of a new civilization. But instead of being born from religious ideas it’s born from a science idea.”
Wayne further elaborated to MTV.com: “Against a background of descending madness, Major Syrtis is trying to use the pageant to provide hope amongst the colonists, and the film tells the story of his struggle. You see his humiliation and his self-doubt because there are all these haphazard things that keep getting in the way of his determination to celebrate this first Christmas on Mars. A lot of the people are committing suicide, and one of them is this sort of Santa Claus that’s supposed to preside over this big celebration. He dies right at the beginning and this presents Steven’s character with several problems.” Fortunately, Major Syrtis finds an unlikely ally in Coyne’s strange and mysterious character, a “Martian that lands, but the Martian isn’t really perceived as a Martian. People just sort of think he’s another crazy guy who’s flipped and turned himself green. They can’t find a quick replacement for Santa so they just use this Martian guy. So the Martian guy becomes the Martian and Santa Claus at the same time.”