Tonight was another exciting evening at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. First, I arrived early and headed to an excellent nearby restaurant, Kate Mantilini. It was a typical glamorous Beverly Hills dinery (read, expensive) so I asked the kind staff if I could get a quick appetizer for dinner. Well, they not only gave me something fast and delicous, but inexpensive. I gobbled that down while having a very pleasant chat with my dining companions neated nearby, then rushed back to the festival. The ladies seated near me at dinner happened to be therapists, so when I left, I said "I'm having separation anxiety!"
Back at the festival across the street, I was able to take photos with my new Nikon 1 J3 camera which is amazing, it works great. I met Jonathan Holiff, the very genial director of My Father and the Man in Black (reviewed below); and generally had a blast.
Then the film was screened with an introduction from the sponsors. Afterwards there was a fascinating Q&A session with Mr. Holiff lead by Hilary Helstein, the festival director. She did an excellent job and the questions and answers were most intriguing. Ms. Helstein is also a film director of the documentary As Seen Through These Eyes. I haven't seen it yet, but I'd bet it's good, since the talented Ms. Helstein does a terrific job running the film festival.
More festival information: lajfilmfest.org, more photos on Joy's Flicker page: flickr.com/joybennett
REVIEW OF MY FATHER AND THE MAN IN BLACK
Directed by Jonathan Holiff
© 2013 Joy Bennett
Los Angeles Premiere
June 5, 2013 at Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival
Jonathan Holiff is a lot like his dad. Sal Holiff, Jonathan’s father, was a long-time manager for Johnny Cash. Sal did an excellent job, according to Mr. Cash himself, and was instrumental in taking the talented but deeply troubled musician to worldwide prominence, despite Cash's crippling addictions and drug abuse.
Both Holiffs are talented producers, entrepreneurs, perfectionists. Both are fascinated by the entertainment business, and determined to make a living in it.
Both were deeply affected by one of the most influential and troubled musicians of our time, Johnny Cash.
Jonathan happened to find, after his father’s suicide, a secret storeroom of tapes, memorabilia, photos and documents all about Sal’s life with Mr. Cash. He uses this to craft this fascinating documentary about his and his father’s life, and to finally start to come to terms with their troubled relationship.
Sal was in large part absent from Jonathan’s childhood while managing the force of nature that was Johnny Cash. When he was home he was a strict taskmaster, even going to the extent of issuing contracts and keeping bookkeeping ledgers instead of being a warm and loving father.
To his credit, Jonathan does not sink into the “Mommie Dearest” level of other children touched and damaged by celebrity. Instead, he generously allows us a very honest and moving peak into the hard work of healing from such a relationship. At times moving, sad, funny and enlightening, Mr. Holiff’s film is an excellent story that would interest anyone who is a fan of Mr. Cash’s. It would also appeal to anyone exploring their own parent-child relationship, one of the most powerful and poignant of all.