Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
Director Stephen Kessler sets out to profile the prolific singer/songwriter/actor who seemed ubiquitous in the 1970s and '80s, only to disappear from the spotlight following a protracted battle with drugs and alcohol. Convinced that the once-prolific Paul Williams has passed away as he scours the Internet to purchase one of his albums, Kessler discovers to his surprise that not only is Williams alive and well, but he's also still performing regularly to adoring fans around the world. Like many teens of the 1970s and '80s, Kessler connected with Williams' pensive, poetic songs about love and loneliness, and upon learning that he would be performing at a Winnipeg screening of Phantom of the Paradise (panned by critics, the notorious Brian De Palma bomb was a massive hit in just two cities: Winnipeg and Paris), the filmmaker convinces Williams to be profiled in a documentary. At first Williams is somewhat aloof, yet Kessler persists and, in time, makes a breakthrough by bonding with the performer over his favorite seafood. Meanwhile, as Kessler begins exploring the highs and lows of Williams' career, the subject pulls the storyteller into the film, and a close friendship begins to develop. Later, Kessler tags along with Williams for a concert in the Philippines, where their bond is cemented during a tense bus ride through the Mindanao jungle. As a result, the filmmaker gets the one thing he's craved since one of his earliest meetings with Williams, though when it seems to go awry he fears that he may have betrayed his new friend's trust.
addiction, celebrity, music-tour, Philippines, singer/songwriter