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Paul Williams Still Alive! / Closing Night Reception - CIFF

  • Apr 1, 2012 · 7:15 PM
  • Cleveland International Film Festival @ Tower City Cinemas















Here's a great opportunity to combine music, music history and film at the fabulous Cleveland International Film Festival. You will find complete ticketing information at the bottom of this event post along with a special members-only discount code that can be used for all CIFF films.

Paul Williams Still Alive!

Sunday, April 1 – Closing night Party after the film.

Paul Williams Still Alive!
Directed by Stephen Kessler
USA 2011
84 minutes
Sunday, April 1
7:20 PM I Code PAUL01
















We’ve only just begun...” so begins one of the many hit songs written by Paul Williams, the hit-maker of the 70s. After winning multiple Grammys, Emmys, and Academy Awards® as a songwriter for such stars as Elvis, The Carpenters, David Bowie, Barbara Streisand, and Kermit The Frog, and after more than 50 appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, Williams died much too young at the peak of his career. Or, so it was thought.

Director and Williamsfan Stephen Kessler (“Vegas Vacation”) found Williams alive and well and performing a gig in Winnipeg, Manitoba. From there Kessler followed Williams as he toured, singing his hit songs, meeting fans, and working as a drug rehabilitation speaker.









Paul Williams Still Alive! is the comic and endearing look at one of the world’s great songwriters, entertainers, and characters. As honest, engaging, and captivating as Williams himself, this documentary is “An Old Fashioned Love Song” to the man who now is just happy not to be “Gone Forever.” —T.W.

Everyone in attendance at any of the films showing in the last round is invited to join Music Cleveland! for the Closing Night dessert reception and awards presentation program around The Fountain at Tower City Center following the film. (estimated at 9 p.m.)










There was a point in the seventies when Paul Williams was everywhere. The hit songs he wrote dominated the charts and became staples, including Three Dog Night’s “An Old Fashioned Love Song”; The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun”; and “Rainbow Connection,” performed by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie. The diminutive star also appeared on the big and small screens, most notably as the villainous Swan in Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise (which he also co-scored), a genius orangutan in Battle for the Planet of the Apes and a regular guest on Johnny Carson’s couch. He also acted in episodes of The Love Boat, The Odd Couple and The Gong Show. And then: he quickly faded from the spotlight.

With songs about loneliness and his outsider persona, Williams struck a chord with many, including director Stephen Kessler. When he began to investigate his childhood idol, Kessler was surprised to learn that Williams is still very much alive, and set out to make a documentary. Williams allows Kessler to accompany him on his travels, but the director soon discovers that his subject isn’t the same man from television that he once idolized.















Despite Kessler’s initial plan to stay behind the camera, Williams coaxes him out, and Kessler becomes part of the story. He follows Williams from small hotel gigs to celebrity golf tournaments to a stadium show in the Philippines — where the downright manic and nervous director must accompany Williams on a six-hour bus ride through a terrorist-infested jungle to get to a gig. During this expedition, their strained relationship helps shape a candid examination of an artist who fought against his own drug-fuelled ego run amok and then became more in love with the attention than the music.

Paul Williams Still Alive! is both a rollicking pop-culture flashback filled with great television and performance clips, and the humorous journey of an awkward documentarian and his reluctant subject. Yet it ultimately evolves into the touching tale of a man who has made peace with the beast that fame and celebrity awoke.

Sunday, April 1 / 7:20 p.m. - line up at 6:45 p.m.

We have made arrangements with the Cleveland International Film Festival (March 22nd to April 1st) for a $2 discount on ticket purchases. This also applies to reduced ticket prices for CIFF members. Please consider becoming a member and supporting this Cleveland treasure. Complete details are posted on the files section and are listed below. Please note that additional information can be obtained from these organizations. Music Cleveland! Organizers cannot answer any questions that are not covered here. - Bill Johnson

How to redeem a $2.00 discount for a 36th CIFF ticket purchase

36th Cleveland International Film Festival
March 22 to April 1, 2012
Tower City Cinemas

Online: Use the code "INDIE1" when purchasing tickets at (available 24 hours a day).
Phone: Use the code "INDIE1" when calling the Ulmer & Berne Film Festival Box Office at 877.304.FILM (3456).
Store: Use the code "INDIE1" at the Ulmer & Berne Film Festival Box Office in the lobby of Tower City Cinemas.

Ticket prices (before discount):
$10 Cleveland International Film Festival Members
$12 Non-members
$10 Students and Seniors (day of show only)

This discount is good for any Festival film screening.
Restrictions may apply.

Full Parking information is available at the CIFF Web Site (click here)


Only a few days remain until tickets to the 36th CIFF go on sale to CIFF members - Friday, March 2nd - a full week before they go on sale to the general public.  Members also receive benefits including discounts on CIFF tickets, merchandise, and access to the schedule builder, film rating, and film comments section of the CIFF website.  Want to avoid tickets lines altogether?  Join at one of our top three membership levels and receive an all-access pass (no tickets necessary!).

BE CARRIED AWAY and click here to join, or call[masked] x10. 

Ticket prices for most films are $10 per film for CIFF members and $12 for non-members.  Tickets will be available online at, by telephone (1.877.304.FILM), at the Ulmer & Berne Film Festival Box Office in the lobby of Tower City Cinemas, or by mail using the Program Guide order form. 

Program Guides will be available throughout the region, including all Dollar Bank locations, the week of March 5th.  They may also be downloaded on the web site.


Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Excellent film. Good see that Paul Williams survived the 70s and 80s as we did.

    April 1, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Films are selling out today. I recommend getting your tickets ASAP. You should avoid the stand-by waiting line at all costs. It's sort of like traveling in steerage.

    March 29, 2012

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