Philly’s music-festival famous ‘Jelloman’ is getting a documentary

Paul Vile sells thousands of jello shots backstage at concerts. And he’s Kurt Vile’s brother.

Paul Vile, aka Jelloman, is the subject of an upcoming documentary.

Paul Vile, aka Jelloman, is the subject of an upcoming documentary.

Courtesy Colin Kerrigan

If you always wanted to know how to make thousands of jello shots inside a motel room — like, literally thousands — Colin Kerrigan’s soon-to-be-released documentary has you covered.

Kerrigan, a freelance filmmaker, has been working for more than a year on a project he calls “Jelloman, if u will.” It follows Paul Vile, locally known as the Jelloman. Vile is a staple in the music scene, famous for selling jello shots at concerts and making “jello murals” to celebrate his favorite bands.

He also happens to be the brother of famous Philly musician Kurt Vile.

One of Vile's jello murals, celebrating the band Cage the Elephant.

One of Vile's jello murals, celebrating the band Cage the Elephant.

Courtesy Colin Kerrigan

Kerrigan didn’t start his career with the goal of highlighting escapades based around jiggling booze.

A 2012 Temple journalism alum, he was a local news reporter in Philly, before becoming a freelance music journalist and filmmaker. Two years ago, his work in the industry lead him to cover a music festival in Florida.

That’s when he first met the Jelloman — and fell for him, hard.

When Vile becomes the Jelloman, Kerrigan explained, he is a purposeful, carefully crafted character. He interacts with as many people at each music festival as he can, performing “a very Philly dialect” and selling his famous shots.

“I spent two days with him, just watching him kind of do his thing at a music festival,” Kerrigan said. “There’s more to him than just his music festival antics.”

Apparently when Vile isn’t making jello shots, he’s a well-trained mason.

“He sneaks into music festivals to give out jello shots,” Kerrigan said. “But he can also build you a driveway if you need it.”

When he performs as the Jelloman, Paul Vile sells thousands of shots to music festival attendees across the country.

When he performs as the Jelloman, Paul Vile sells thousands of shots to music festival attendees across the country.

Courtesy Colin Kerrigan

The Jelloman’s various talents inspired Kerrigan to dive deeper. He was sure Vile’s story would resonate in the Philadelphia music community. Plus, Kerrigan thought, it couldn’t be better timing, with the popularity of music festivals growing nationwide.

So a little more than a year ago, he asked Vile if he could follow him around with a camera, and ultimately turn the footage into a documentary.

“And since then,” Kerrigan said, “it’s been an interesting year of watching him make thousands of jello shots.”

Along the way, he’s traveled with the Jelloman to Chicago, New York and Richmond. When Vile decided he wanted to deliver a mural to one of his favorite bands, which was performing in Los Angeles that same day, the two hopped on a last-minute flight, Kerrigan said. “I wasn’t gonna miss that.”

The Jelloman in his natural state — making shots.

The Jelloman in his natural state — making shots.

Courtesy Colin Kerrigan

Now, the film is almost complete. Kerrigan estimates he’s done with about 80 percent of the filming, and then it’ll go into post-production with an editor he hired in Brooklyn. There’s a hard deadline for completion: the first week of August, when Kerrigan wants to start entering the film into major festivals (think Sundance, SXSW and the Philadelphia Film Festival).

To finish up production, Kerrigan is asking for help via a Kickstarter launched on Monday. He needs some extra cash to pay professionals for editing, color correction and sound mixing. Plus, Kerrigan said the page will fund a party when the documentary is released, as well as the submission fees for those big-name film festivals.

In one day, the crowdfunding page raised $6,500 toward Kerrigan’s $20,000 goal — which, he said, is very on-brand.

“It’s about a guy who’s very good at what he does,” Kerrigan said. “If he puts his mind to something, he makes it happen. He’s very dedicated, and he’ll hustle to make it all happen.”



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Film, Booze, Music