Apr 12, 2021
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An insider look at the new Johnny Cash Documentary

By: Lowell Schrieder
Special Assignment Writer, TO411 Daily

When acclaimed Toronto cinematographer Rene Ohashi was approached about a year ago by friend Jonathan Holiff to make a movie, he didn’t expect that it would be a film about music legend Johnny Cash. Nor did he anticipate the magnitude of what was about to be revealed to him, an amazing journey through hundreds of letters and dozens of hours of newly-discovered, never-before-heard audio diaries and telephone conversations with iconic musician, Johnny Cash. 

Shot on locations in and around Hamilton Ontario, the feature-length documentary, tentatively called “My Father and The Man in Black,” is a personal journey from writer/director Jonathan Holiff, whose father Saul was the personal manager to the acclaimed musician from 1960 to 1973. Saul Holiff, who committed suicide in 2005, kept a massive collection of tapes and other memorabilia in a storage facility for 35 years. Jonathan explores the relationship between the music legend and his father as a means to get to know his dad, and ultimately, himself. In the end, the movie tells a universal story about fathers and sons. 

Jonathan discovered the tapes after going through his late father’s office desk where, in the drawer, he found a small key to a storage locker he didn’t know existed. The locker contained all kinds of rare undiscovered Johnny Cash memorabilia including hundreds of candid photographs, gold records, home movies and reel-to-reel tapes. 

“The movie is unique: it’s driven entirely by this amazing discovery of rare, private communications between Cash and his former manager, Canadian, Saul Holiff. It reveals a back-story that has never been told,” Ohashi emphasizes.

“We shot the film with a modified 2-perf 35mm Arriflex from Clairmont Cameras with the other half of the footage coming from archives, still photographs and other visual effects,” states Ohashi. ”The story begins in the fifties and goes until present day. Archival footage will be interspersed within live action; but this is truly a documentary.”

Certain elements were recreated for the making of this film, a project made entirely by family and friends. The Johnny Cash estate played no role in the making of this film which featured nearly two-dozen “replica sets” constructed in a 74,000 square-foot warehouse in Burlington, Ontario. Principal photography was completed in December.

“Jonathan originally wanted to shoot 3-perf but we couldn’t afford to shoot film with our budget, so we resurrected Technicolour Italia’s 1960’s 2-perf pull-down ‘Techniscope’ format, formerly used in many ‘spaghetti western’ movies,” Ohashi said. ”This resulted in our using a third less film and processing necessary for 3-perf, saving us enough money to make it feasible. Arriflex has acquired the rights and refined the degraining process from Digital Film Central in Vancouver. ’Relativity’ software allows one to degrain footage so that it is indistinguishable from 3-perf in quality, so we’re hoping to incorporate this innovative technology into our post workflow.”

“The film will be submitted to festivals beginning next Fall,” reveals Ohashi. ”It’s a great story with a very personal touch. We expect it will be seen by people the world over.”

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Headline, Industry News

An insider look at the new Johnny Cash Documentary

By: Lowell Schrieder
Special Assignment Writer, TO411 Daily

When acclaimed Toronto cinematographer Rene Ohashi was approached about a year ago by friend Jonathan Holiff to make a movie, he didn’t expect that it would be a film about music legend Johnny Cash. Nor did he anticipate the magnitude of what was about to be revealed to him, an amazing journey through hundreds of letters and dozens of hours of newly-discovered, never-before-heard audio diaries and telephone conversations with iconic musician, Johnny Cash. 

Shot on locations in and around Hamilton Ontario, the feature-length documentary, tentatively called “My Father and The Man in Black,” is a personal journey from writer/director Jonathan Holiff, whose father Saul was the personal manager to the acclaimed musician from 1960 to 1973. Saul Holiff, who committed suicide in 2005, kept a massive collection of tapes and other memorabilia in a storage facility for 35 years. Jonathan explores the relationship between the music legend and his father as a means to get to know his dad, and ultimately, himself. In the end, the movie tells a universal story about fathers and sons. 

Jonathan discovered the tapes after going through his late father’s office desk where, in the drawer, he found a small key to a storage locker he didn’t know existed. The locker contained all kinds of rare undiscovered Johnny Cash memorabilia including hundreds of candid photographs, gold records, home movies and reel-to-reel tapes. 

“The movie is unique: it’s driven entirely by this amazing discovery of rare, private communications between Cash and his former manager, Canadian, Saul Holiff. It reveals a back-story that has never been told,” Ohashi emphasizes.

“We shot the film with a modified 2-perf 35mm Arriflex from Clairmont Cameras with the other half of the footage coming from archives, still photographs and other visual effects,” states Ohashi. ”The story begins in the fifties and goes until present day. Archival footage will be interspersed within live action; but this is truly a documentary.”

Certain elements were recreated for the making of this film, a project made entirely by family and friends. The Johnny Cash estate played no role in the making of this film which featured nearly two-dozen “replica sets” constructed in a 74,000 square-foot warehouse in Burlington, Ontario. Principal photography was completed in December.

“Jonathan originally wanted to shoot 3-perf but we couldn’t afford to shoot film with our budget, so we resurrected Technicolour Italia’s 1960’s 2-perf pull-down ‘Techniscope’ format, formerly used in many ‘spaghetti western’ movies,” Ohashi said. ”This resulted in our using a third less film and processing necessary for 3-perf, saving us enough money to make it feasible. Arriflex has acquired the rights and refined the degraining process from Digital Film Central in Vancouver. ’Relativity’ software allows one to degrain footage so that it is indistinguishable from 3-perf in quality, so we’re hoping to incorporate this innovative technology into our post workflow.”

“The film will be submitted to festivals beginning next Fall,” reveals Ohashi. ”It’s a great story with a very personal touch. We expect it will be seen by people the world over.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

An insider look at the new Johnny Cash Documentary

By: Lowell Schrieder
Special Assignment Writer, TO411 Daily

When acclaimed Toronto cinematographer Rene Ohashi was approached about a year ago by friend Jonathan Holiff to make a movie, he didn’t expect that it would be a film about music legend Johnny Cash. Nor did he anticipate the magnitude of what was about to be revealed to him, an amazing journey through hundreds of letters and dozens of hours of newly-discovered, never-before-heard audio diaries and telephone conversations with iconic musician, Johnny Cash. 

Shot on locations in and around Hamilton Ontario, the feature-length documentary, tentatively called “My Father and The Man in Black,” is a personal journey from writer/director Jonathan Holiff, whose father Saul was the personal manager to the acclaimed musician from 1960 to 1973. Saul Holiff, who committed suicide in 2005, kept a massive collection of tapes and other memorabilia in a storage facility for 35 years. Jonathan explores the relationship between the music legend and his father as a means to get to know his dad, and ultimately, himself. In the end, the movie tells a universal story about fathers and sons. 

Jonathan discovered the tapes after going through his late father’s office desk where, in the drawer, he found a small key to a storage locker he didn’t know existed. The locker contained all kinds of rare undiscovered Johnny Cash memorabilia including hundreds of candid photographs, gold records, home movies and reel-to-reel tapes. 

“The movie is unique: it’s driven entirely by this amazing discovery of rare, private communications between Cash and his former manager, Canadian, Saul Holiff. It reveals a back-story that has never been told,” Ohashi emphasizes.

“We shot the film with a modified 2-perf 35mm Arriflex from Clairmont Cameras with the other half of the footage coming from archives, still photographs and other visual effects,” states Ohashi. ”The story begins in the fifties and goes until present day. Archival footage will be interspersed within live action; but this is truly a documentary.”

Certain elements were recreated for the making of this film, a project made entirely by family and friends. The Johnny Cash estate played no role in the making of this film which featured nearly two-dozen “replica sets” constructed in a 74,000 square-foot warehouse in Burlington, Ontario. Principal photography was completed in December.

“Jonathan originally wanted to shoot 3-perf but we couldn’t afford to shoot film with our budget, so we resurrected Technicolour Italia’s 1960’s 2-perf pull-down ‘Techniscope’ format, formerly used in many ‘spaghetti western’ movies,” Ohashi said. ”This resulted in our using a third less film and processing necessary for 3-perf, saving us enough money to make it feasible. Arriflex has acquired the rights and refined the degraining process from Digital Film Central in Vancouver. ’Relativity’ software allows one to degrain footage so that it is indistinguishable from 3-perf in quality, so we’re hoping to incorporate this innovative technology into our post workflow.”

“The film will be submitted to festivals beginning next Fall,” reveals Ohashi. ”It’s a great story with a very personal touch. We expect it will be seen by people the world over.”

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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