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New documentary shows why Winnipeg loves ‘Phantom of the Paradise’

The movie poster for Phantom Of Winnipeg.
The movie poster for Phantom Of Winnipeg. Connor Chan/Global News

To say that Phantom of the Paradise is just another movie in Winnipeg would be an understatement. The city is one of only a few in the world that values the true spirit of what the movie has to offer.

“If you’re from Winnipeg, you will know about Phantom and you would know about the stories,” said Dean Hunter founder of the band Swanage. “They can relate to some of the stories and in general what happened back in the ’70s when everyone saw this movie and how it connected with everyone — especially the music.”

The music of Phantom of the Paradise has left a lasting impact on many who look to continue the spirit of the movie, while some were solely inspired to try a musical instrument because of the movie.

“It’s one of my favourite movies,” Hunter said. Seeing the film inspired him to form the band Swanage. “I’m wondering if I could get a band together and do every song from beginning to end, do the entire soundtrack.”

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“Back when I was 12, and saw the movie for the first time at the beginning of ’75, and heard the first chord to Somebody Super Like You, I decided I’m going to learn how to play guitar,” said superfan Craig Wallace.

READ MORE: Phantom of the Paradise a Winnipeg favourite

A new documentary called Phantom of Winnipeg is set to premiere this month and will feature interviews with many passionate fans in the city who will share their story on how much the movie means to them.

“They’re going to see themselves in all of us fans that love the movie because they’re going to relate to everything we say and they’re going to understand what we say. Because we didn’t know it was a flop everywhere else. We’re in some kind of dome that Phantom was made for Winnipeg and we got it,” said Tracy Dodds, who is also a member of Swanage.

Whether you saw the film back in the ’70s, or are just hearing about it in 2019, there is a good chance that any Winnipegger you ask about it, will know what you’re talking about.

“There are people who are of different ages, who will know of Phantom and they have the enthusiasm of all of us, and then there are some who don’t know what I’m talking about and those are the ones we need to bring into our church,” Wallace said.

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Phantom of the Paradise is celebrating 45 years since its release this year, and from the sounds of it, the presence of the film isn’t going to be disappearing any time soon.

The documentary Phantom of Winnipeg premieres Aug. 17 at the Park Theatre.