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What is Phantom of Winnipeg?

In 1974 acclaimed film director Brian DePalma took an artistic gamble and created his own version of the classic tale Phantom of the Opera. Phantom of the Paradise is an over- the-top glam horror comedy movie musical, featuring a starring role and songs from musical legend Paul Williams (the award-winning writer behind classic songs like “Evergreen”, “We’ve Only Just Begun”, “Rainy Days and Mondays,” and “Rainbow Connection”).

On release, the film landed with a mighty thud and quickly disappeared back whence it came…

… this would be where the story ended if it weren’t for the brave denizens of the small and frigid Canadian city of Winnipeg who didn’t get the memo. Instead local kids (shockingly between the ages of 9-13) turned the film into an enduring phenomenon with local box office grosses larger than the studio blockbuster Jaws.

These little Winnipeggers did this by buying up thousands upon thousands of tickets, sending the soundtrack up the charts and even flying in Williams for a concert where he was treated like a member of the Beatles by the mobs of teens assembled. An entire generation of kids grew up on The Phantom of the Paradise and they continue to keep the cult around the film alive today with sold out screenings and events still happening in Winnipeg to this day.

Phantom of Winnipeg tells the story of the unique fan community that sprung up around the film and the people whose rock and roll obsessions are still going strong decades later. This documentary will be an exploration of an outsider community and the very DNA of fan culture itself told via the true life stories of those fateful Winnipeg kids who just got it, the cast and creative team behind the original film who saw it all go down first-hand and the famous artists who swear that Winnipeg  was definitely on to something.

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