Johnny Cash Doc MY FATHER AND THE MAN IN BLACK to Open 9/6
MY FATHER AND THE MAN IN BLACK is a fresh angle on the Johnny Cash mythology and a long way from Walk The Line. Following a record-breaking rollout in the U.K., this documentary about the music legend-as seen through the eyes of his long-time manager, the late Saul Holiff-opens in major U.S. markets on September 6.
Not to be confused with the endless hagiographies dedicated to the man, myth and flawed mortal that was Johnny Cash, MY FATHER AND THE MAN IN BLACK is driven by newly-discovered audio diaries and telephone recordings made during the singer's pill-fueled 1960s, triumphs at Folsom and San Quentin, marriage to June Carter, and his conversion in the early 1970s to born-again Christian.
For The First Time we have eyewitness contemporaneous accounts--in their own voices--of what really happened to Johnny and Saul in the 1960s--a decade Cash admitted he could not remember--as well as the early 1970s when the singer's network television show was cancelled and his manager quit. There are no "talking heads" in this film.
This award-winning movie reveals more sides to "The Man in Black" than ever before. Most notably the film supplies the ending missing from Walk the Line. Here we get a behind-the-scenes look at Cash's conversion to fundamentalist Christianity, and the effect it had on his career and on his Jewish-Canadian manager.
Saul's audio diary begins in Toronto in March 1966 with a blow-by-blow account of the time everyone thought Johnny was dead. "Pills were hidden all over the motor home," said Saul on the recording. Holiff also expressed concern about going back across the U.S. border (one week after Cash received a suspended sentence in El Paso)--and whether Johnny would still be alive when they reached it. He also worried about "the baby."
The "baby" is now first-time filmmaker Jonathan Holiff, who explores the Johnny-and-Saul relationship as a means to get to know his cold and distant father and, ultimately, himself. Jonathan was estranged from his father for twenty years when Saul committed suicide in 2005--without leaving a note.
In this documentary, Jonathan constructs a family memoir around the secret archives of his deceased, largely absent father. Burdened with a sense of personal loss, he also makes a sure-footed guide to modern mythmaking. This combination has made the film a favorite on the international film festival circuit (winning 8 competitions including Edinburgh and Hamburg).
An intense personal adventure that happens to feature one of 20th-century music's greatest icons, MY FATHER AND THE MAN IN BLACK tells the inside story of 'bad boy' Johnny Cash, his talented but troubled manager, Saul Holiff, and a son searching for his father in the shadow of a legend.
The film will open on September 6th in New York and Los Angeles and select cities nationwide. Produced and distributed (in North America) by New Chapter Productions, the movie will be released on DVD and iTunes and Amazon Instant Video on September 10th. The film is distributed in the UK and Ireland by Ballpark Film Distributors.
On September 12th, the 10th anniversary of Johnny Cash's death, the film will play London's prestigious Mayfair Curzon and Soho Curzon cinemas. Stateside, Jonathan Holiff will host the 7:15pm screening at Manhattan's Quad Cinema with a Q&A to follow.
Photo: Johnny and Saul 1970, Courtesy of the Saul Holiff Collection