Alexandra Lipsitz (Director - 'Air Guitar Nation')
'Mighty New Air's To The Throne!'
A battle of naked ambition played out on the national and, ultimately, world stage, 'AIR GUITAR NATION' chronicles the birth of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships as legions of aspiring rock stars live out their dreams on a quest to become the world champion in a strange world where musical ability plays second fiddle to virtual virtuosity.
As the film un-reels, two aspiring rock legends strum and strut their way towards glory and the coveted national title.
C. Diddy (David Jung), a samurai warrior clad in a “Hello Kitty’’ breast plate and red kimono, emerges as an early favorite. But his arch nemesis from the Lower East Side, Björn Türoque (Dan Crane), is not far behind.
While C. Diddy threatens to unleash his self-professed “Asian Fury’’ on his competitors, Björn vows to take Diddy down. As the film reaches its climax, the future of Air hangs in the balance; will Björn’s technical prowess, stage presence, and airness’ be enough to take him to the top, or will C. Diddy conquer all to become America’s first supreme being of Air Guitar?
Full of triumph and disappointment, patriotic spirit and political tension — and, of course, invisible guitars — 'AIR GUITAR NATION' and filmmaker Alexandra Lipsitz take audiences on an inspiring, exhilarating, and ultimately hilarious journey that delves deep to find out what it truly takes to become the best in the world and find the inner meaning of the chant, “Make Air, Not War.”
Taking it from the top and please explain why a film of such naked ambition as Air Guitar Championships became your first feature documentary film experience? Alexandra Lipsitz - "Luck, I guess!"
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of these Championships in Oulu, Finland, and even after having watched this film was still disbelieving the validity of such a film, how would you convince them that this was not simply a made up story but a true tribute to invisible guitars? "I would tell them to go to witness a live championship."
Once in Finland the contestants found themselves going to a High Altitude training camp with former champions teaching. Did you ever learn what benefit the High Altitude had on the actual training of these competitors?! "The camp is at sea level so the high altitude was not really a factor. I think bonding with air guitarists from all over the world, the kindness of Anni Kokko, the 20 year-old scotch, the sauna and jumping into the ice cold baltic were the benefits of the camp."
During the filming of this documentary, which of the competitors did you begin to find yourself rooting for to win the big one in Finland back in 2003? "It was not about winning, it was all so weird and exciting. It was a thrill to watch. You love them all. They all rocked."
It's been stated that you yourself were found in a rock club in Oulu, Finland where you suddenly broke out your own 'inner air guitar'! So, please tell us first hand how easy (or hard) is was to do that in front of people for the first time and just how your performance faired compared to the others on stage that night?! 'The first time I air guitared was not on stage - it was around 4 am in the morning and there was a dance floor full of people air guitaring together."
"C-Diddy" was the man throughout the Championships in 2003, but did he compete in any further events? If so, how did he do and where is he now, do you know? "He returned to defend his title in 2004 - now he has retired and is selling pooper scoopers with his dad - PUDS is the company name - they may have a contract with PetSmart soon. He also goes to meditate on a mountain top in Denmark occasionally waiting for the message from God as to when he shall return to the world stage of air guitar. I also heard he had a short stint in rehab!"
In a trailer for the TV show 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia,' Danny DeVito rocks out some air guitar also! Do you think that this was coincidental or that perhaps watching "C-Diddy" inspired him?! "I think Danny was totally paying homage to C-Diddy. But my advise for Danny is he should look deep inside himself and find his own inner air guitar!"
Knowing that 'Air Guitar Nation' was actually filmed back in 2003, why has it taken four years to get to theaters? "A masterpiece takes time. We have been in theaters for a year now - on the festival circuit - now going to thirty cities and hopefully more! I guess this movie has a long life - we all were working and had to pay the rent, feed the dog ... this was a self-funded project, you know. Plus we are air guitarists - we take our time - enjoy life - what is the hurry anyway?"
There did not seem to be a lot of women involved in these Air Guitar Championships and the ones that were, well let's just say they were obviously your generic rock chicks! So, why is it that this form of inner expression doesn't encourage more beautiful women to rock out and show it like it is?! "I think beauty is subjective - all women are beautiful - so I beg to disagree. The film closes with Sonyk ROK and she is HOT!!!!!!! There are many women in air guitar - just not so many in 2003. In 2005 the world stage was almost 50% women. The great thing about air guitar is women compete against the men and kick their asses at times!"
What's next for your filmmaking team? "We are making some hit TV shows and starting to develop a new film."
Lastly, and throwing in a comedic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "I love all animals! Support the NRDC! Polar Bears need our help."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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