My Father and The Man In Black to premiere at The Quad in NYC, October 7th
Before there was Johnny and June, there was Johnny and Saul. Saul Holiff put Johnny Cash together with June Carter–but you won’t find
his story in “Walk The Line.”
Direct from its International Premiere in London, comes the story about the man behind The Man In Black–longtime manager Saul Holiff. But this is no ordinary music documentary.
Six years in the making, this unauthorized look at Cash–driven by audio diaries and telephone calls recorded by Holiff in the sixties and seventies–was written and directed by Jonathan Holiff in response to his father’s suicide.
“My Father and The Man In Black” presents the untold story of “bad boy” Johnny Cash, his talented but troubled manager, Saul Holiff, and a son searching for clues to his father’s suicide in the shadow of a legend.
For the first time we have eyewitness contemporaneous accounts–in their own voices–about what really happened to Johnny and Saul in the 1960s–a decade the singer admitted he could not remember–as well as the early 1970s when Cash was “born again.”
Watch the Trailer:
According to Cash historian, Mark Stiepler, “Holiff took on the role of mentor, alternately cajoling and castigating his charge as they careened through the 1960s. Holiff became Cash’s protector and tormentor, father and brother. Their disputes were frequent; their victories pulled from the jaws of defeat.” Mr. Stiepler will join Jonathan at the Q&A.
Saul Holiff handled the bookings and the no-shows, the divorce and the marriage, the arrests and the trials. He was there for the absolute worst of times. Holiff was also there for the best of times: “Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and Cash’s hit television series.” But in 1973, at the zenith of Cash’s career, Holiff quit. And until now, no one knew why.
Who was Saul Holiff? That’s the question Jonathan–who also narrates the film–sets out to answer. Father and son were estranged for 20 years when Holiff committed suicide in 2005–without leaving a note.
Jonathan returned home to help his mother get rid of Saul’s things. That’s when he discovered his father’s storage locker. Inside were hundreds of letters, many hand-written, between Saul, Johnny, and June–and 60 hours of very personal audio diaries recorded from the early 1960s until shortly before his death. Saul taped his telephone calls with Johnny too!
Saul detailed their experiences–as they happened–during the singer’s darkest days, through his meteoric rise to stardom, and finally during their shocking break-up.
“My Father and The Man In Black” weaves together their letters and phone calls, and Holiff’s own audio diary, to tell the story as it should be told–by the men who lived it. And what a fascinating story they tell.
Vancouver International Film Festival (Canada): October 2, 9, & 11, 2012
Raindance Film Festival (UK): October 3 & 5, 2012
Radar Hamburg (Germany): October 31, 2012
CPH DOX (Copenhagen): November 2012
Cork Film Festival (Ireland): November 2012