The Man in Black is coming to YouTube this fall.
YouTube will premiere “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash,” from director Thom Zimny, on Nov. 11, exclusively streaming the 90-minute documentary for free worldwide.
The documentary, for which YouTube acquired streaming rights after its world premiere at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, features newly discovered archival materials and interviews with family and celebrated collaborators including Rosanne Cash, John Carter Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Duvall, Emmylou Harris, Paul Muldoon, and Dwight Yoakam. The movie explores Cash’s artistic victories, personal tragedies, struggles with addiction, and the spiritual pursuits of the famed musician’s life.
YouTube is releasing “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” for free, part of its recently implemented strategy to debut most of its original series and films on the free, ad-supported side — rather than holding them back exclusively for YouTube Premium subscribers. (Originally, YouTube had set an Oct. 8 release date for the Cash documentary.)
Ahead of its YouTube premiere, “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” will get a very limited theatrical run: It will open in New York on Oct. 11 exclusively at the Cinema Village and in Los Angeles on Oct. 25 at the Laemmle Music Hall Beverly Hills.
Writing in Variety, critic Joe Leydon called the film “tightly focused yet impressively multifaceted documentary that attempts nothing less than to delve past familiar myths and illuminate the soul of its fabled subject.”
In addition to its premiere in March 2019 at SXSW, “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” screened at the Telluride Film Festival as part of the event’s Backlot Series. It’s also set to screen at the 50th Annual Nashville Film Festival on Oct. 7.
“The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” is directed by Zimny (“Elvis Presley: The Searcher,” “Springsteen on Broadway”) and produced by Zimny, Glen Zipper, Sean Stuart. Executive producers are Jillian Apfelbaum. Frank Marshall, Ryan Suffern, Jeff Pollack, John Carter Cash, Josh Matas, Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Ryan Friedkin and Jasmine Daghighian serve as executive producers. The documentary is an Imperative Entertainment and Kennedy/Marshall production in association with Sutter Road Picture Co. and the John R Cash Trust. Original music for the film was composed and performed by Mike McCready.
Watch the official trailer: