Paul Williams is an instantly recognizable face from the 1970’s that, among other things, performed as an actor and musician and wrote, “The Rainbow Connection.” Our guest, Stephen Kessler created the feature doc, “Paul Williams: Still Alive,” shedding light on Williams’ troubled talent.
We talk about the unlikely celebrity that is Paul Williams, getting access to old footage to tell the story, and working with a subject that had mixed feelings about being the focus of a documentary. It is a sparkling and almost mercurial discussion–one that matches Paul’s talent.
Watch new episodes of BYOD live each week on Tuesdays at noon on TheLip.TV, or tune in for the archived replay starting here on the following Thursday.
BYOD is hosted by Ondi Timoner, director of “DIG!,” “JOIN US” and “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC,” and has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice. Each week the show explores a different documentary filmmaker or aspect of filmmaking, with special guests and a live Q&A– diving deep into creative process and the business realities of producing and distributing films. Ondi shares her insider views, opinions, and personal stories, welcoming audience participation. BYOD aims to entertain, inform, and elevate documentaries in general by bringing attention to films and film makers that deserve exposure.
00:01 BYOD opening.
00:28 Introducing Stephen Kessler.
02:01 Exposing Paul Williams to a newer generation.
04:21 Paul Williams: Still Alive, Clip. The Fame of Paul Williams
05:24 A different era of celebrity and a different kind of star.
06:49 Meeting your heroes–tricky business for a doc maker.
10:20 More than an episode of “Behind the Music.”
11:24 Paul Williams: Still Alive, Clip. A meaningful conversation interrupted.
13:46 Including yourself in the process of filmmaking.
15:58 Fair use, and the intercession of “The Dude,” Jeff Dowd.
19:12 His family and personal life, and emphasizing different aspects of Paul’s life.
21:33 Giving Paul final approval of the film.
25:19 Paul Williams: Still Alive, Clip. Sabotage in San Francisco.
29:01 The fans response to Paul.
30:41 Favorite music documentaries, and avoiding influences.
32:45 “What were you ultimately trying to say about Paul Williams in the end?”
35:04 Paul Williams: Still Alive, Clip. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
39:21 Premiering the film in Toronto and making the international festival circuit with your kids.
45:11 Where to keep track of the film and find it.
45:38 Thanks and Goodbye.