My Father and the Man in Black (PG) * * * *

Vancouver International Film Festival
King Maker!

Talent breeds success and vice versa. Behind most stars are impressive back-up performers. Look at the biggest successes in the entertainment world and often business minded folk are there behind the scenes. Elvis had Colonel Tom Parker and The Beatles had record store employee/owner turned manager Brian Epstein. A local collection much closer to home helped shape the life of one of country’s biggest stars: Johnny Cash. News to me and to countless others is this untold story of a truly unsung hero. See magic in the making through a slick old-fashioned documentary called My Father and the Man in Black.

Man of all trades Jonathan Holiff sure has one heck of a story to tell. Holiff Jr. wrote and directed this 90 minute eye-opener that explores the relationship Jonathan’s dad, Saul, had with Johnny Cash. More than anyone else Saul Holiff shaped the career of Johnny Cash since he was his manager from day one. Not bad for a “kid” from Ontario who used his business sense to fashion one of the biggest stars in history.

Two distinct tracks are going full tilt in this movie. First there is the rather tumultuous relationship Saul Holiff had with Johnny Cash. Even more startling is the relationship Saul had with his two boys. Country fans will adore the vintage film clips and chart topping songs the man in black presented. Demons aplenty are revealed not only concerning Cash but also those that plagued Holiff.

Ups and downs in show business careers have been revealed often in the movies as well as in the gossip columns. This film deftly details the troubled waters most men had to navigate their way through, first as a team and then as individuals as things continue to veer off course. Memorable moments in this film include a visit to prison and trip to the Holy Land.
Told as a documentary people will get to know more about Cash through this movie but more importantly learn all about the man who shaped his destiny and how that decision would affect his own children for an eternity. Full of lively music and heartfelt confessions, My Father and the Man in Black is a delicious insight into two troubled men and how success can be truly bittersweet.

For more information on the Vancouver International Film Festival or tickets go to or call (604) 685-0260

Showtimes for My Father and the Man In Black:

Oct. 2 10:45 am Pacific Cinematheque
Oct. 9 6:30 pm Empire Granville 7
Oct. 11 2:50 pm Empire Granville 7