An entertaining documentary by Nanaimo-based filmmaker Jonathan Holiff is at the heart of a "Complete Johnny Cash Experience," an event Thursday, March 21 at Red Robinson Show Theatre in Coquitlam.
Holiff's must-see movie "My Father and the Man in Black" will be shown, and the tribute band David James & Big River will play all the Cash hits. Tickets are available via ticketmaster.ca, or call 1-885-985-5000.
The event is produced by White Rock-based Rock.It Boy Entertainment, in association with Encore Music Live.
The acclaimed, award-winning film keys on Holiff's estranged father, Saul, who managed Cash during some of his more turbulent years, from 1960 to 1973 - through drug addiction, hit songs, religion and landmark concerts at big American prisons.
In the film, James, the tribute band's singer, does the voice of Cash.
Holiff was inspired by the biopic "Walk the Line" to learn more about his dad, who committed "rational" suicide in 2005 and left behind a treasure for his son in the form of 60 hours of audio diaries, used liberally in the film.
The movie is a stylized documentary, with stories pulled from the audio diaries (found in a storage locker), hand-written letters, newspaper stories and Holiff's own memory. Throughout, dramatized and animated scenes are mixed with archival footage. Holiff narrates the film, which ends up being a historical mystery - a son's search for answers about his narcissist father, portrayed as a gambling-addicted perfectionist who didn't smile much and loved a good ad slogan.
"My father didn't leave me a note (when he committed suicide) but he left me his story, and for that I'm grateful," Holiff says in the film.
It took him seven years to make "My Father and the Man in Black," which will be released theatrically in the U.K. this spring and, on Aug. 24, on CityTV locally, he said.
"This was a work of passion for me, and not designed to be a money-maker," Holiff told the Now.
He added: "I left stories (about Cash) out of this that would curl your toes."