Almost a decade in the making, Henry Mortensen’s Skating Polly: Ugly Pop documentary is finally finished and ready for its online premiere. The movie will be screened in its entirety for the first time at the 2021 deadCenter Film Festival. Written and directed by Henry Mortensen, the film takes a deep-dive into the ugly pop band Skating Polly and its versatile members Peyton Bighorse, Kelli Mayo and Kurtis Mayo, three siblings who hail from Oklahoma and have been delivering genre-shattering music to the masses for more than ten years.
“Peyton Bighorse and Kelli Mayo are step-sisters from Oklahoma who founded their band, Skating polly at the ages of 14 and 9, respectively. They call their style of music, “Ugly Pop”: infectious melodies, but with real-life blemishes still showing. This film is a documentary exploring the early years of Skating Polly. Peyton and Kelli get their first tastes of success, and try to stay true to themselves and their love of music. We see the sisters grow as people and musicians and how they became the band they are today. Their earnestness throughout is refreshing and inspiring.”
Henry Mortensen has followed Peyton Bighorse and Kelli Mayo on the road and through several recording sessions to dig deep into the process behind the music. The story tracks the step-siblings through their earliest years and albums, and crescendoes with the making of their 2018 hit album The Make It All Show, ending just as brother Curtis Mayo joined the band to assume drumming duties (for the most part), though all three musicians are masters of their craft and are known to switch off instruments throughout their live shows.
Skating Polly are currently gearing up to record a new album, and have been in the studio in the past few months preparing never before heard music. Kelli Mayo has been recuperating from a surgery that left her unable to sing over the past year and a half, but she’s almost ready to make her triumphant comeback, and the band has international tour dates lined up for 2022 (fingers crossed).
Skating Polly: Ugly Pop will have its online dC virtual platform premiere on Friday, June 11, 2021 at 8:00 PM CDT. Along with the trio that is Kelli, Peyton and Curtis, also appearing in the movie is the band’s mentor of sorts Exene Cervenka, from the iconic punk band X, legendary musician Kate Nash, and the groundbreaking performer Lori Anne Barbero, most notoriously known for her exalted punk band Babes in Toyland. The film also promises to hold a few surprises.
Henry Mortensen is an actor-turned-filmmaker who has appeared in movies such as Blue Tiger and Crimson Tide back in the ’90s as a young boy. He most recently appeared as Sergeant Saunders in Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut Falling. Kelli Mayo had this to say about Skating Polly: Ugly Pop when we spoke with her earlier this year.
“I’m ready for it. I can’t remember how many years now [Henry Mortensen has] even follow us around for. But it was a good chunk of time. And he was there for some big stuff. Like us recording The Big Fit and us on the Babes in Toyland tour, and us at Riot Fest. I have watched it. I really like it. I think he’s got some really, really great, like, just happy, beautiful moments in there. Kate Nash is in it. A lot of my heroes, a lot of my friends. Just all these kind of little memories. It’s really special. It’s got a lot of special things in there. It’s pretty cute. And it’s a sweet, happy movie. It’s funny. I am pretty young throughout it. And I’m being a huge goober a lot of the time. Like a big ham. There’s just a lot of funny, candid moments between me and Peyton, and then Kurtis at the very, very end.”
Skating Polly: Ugly Pop is finished and ready for its big debut. You can go to deadCenter for more information on how to watch the movie when the time comes. Tickets are listed at $10. You can check out some of the tweets about the premiere announcement below.