Filmmaker Phil Johnston left Minnesota nearly 20 years ago, but the Minneapolis native returned for a visit recently and brought along a little piece of Hollywood. Johnston hosted a screening of his newest film, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” for local family and friends at the Uptown Theater. The experience proved to be a profound one, as Johnston explains in the video above.

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” is a sequel to the 2012 film, “Wreck it Ralph,” which is the first time Johnston teamed up with Rich Moore. In that film Johnston served as writer and Moore as director. They repeated those roles with 2016’s “Zootopia.” In the newest film Johnston earns his first director credit at Disney, co-directing “Ralph Breaks the Internet” with Moore.

The new film also earned Johnston a surprising credit – lyricist. Johnston teamed up with powerhouse composer Alan Menken to write a song for “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” The experience was memorable. Johnston says, “Writing a song with Alan Menken is writing a song with Alan Menken! It’s nothing I ever thought would happen to me. The guy’s got eight academy awards.” Johnston describes “A Place Called Slaughter Race” as a ‘princess-want’ song set inside a racing video game.

Johnston got bit by the film bug early. He remembers seeing films almost weekly as a child. The feeling he got watching movies as a kid still resonates today, “Film can take you somewhere in terms of taking you to a new world, but also make you feel things you wouldn’t otherwise feel,” Johnston says. “That to me is totally unique to the medium.”

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” opens nation-wide November 21, 2018.

Special Thanks:

Special Thanks: Disney Animation Studios, Univision MinnesotaKARE 11, Uptown Theater, Bea Chang, Jason Geffen, Jen Hernandez, Taylor Otterlei
Additional Media: Disney Animation Studios
Minnesota Music: Black Diet, Cloud Cult, Annie Fitzgerald
Production Team: Amy Melin, Brittany Shrimpton, Joe Demko, Matt Mead

This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.