Johnny Cash

NXNE 2009 Film Fest Pays Tribute to Vinyl and Johnny Cash

This week, North by Northeast descends upon Toronto with its massive lineup and new music aplenty. Running in conjunction with the four-day live show blitz, the NXNE Film Festival gives wristband holders a chance to rest our ears and have a seat.

Like most film festivals in Toronto, NXNE is expanding. This year's edition will screen 30 or so music-related movies, and will introduce a 'film festival only' wristband (available at $25) and a new partnership with the NFB Mediatheque for all NXNE galas, screenings and events with filmmakers.

If you had to see only one film at the NXNE Film Fest, make it Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. The Canadian premiere gets a 7pm Friday night showing at the Bloor on June 19th. The film looks at the period in Cash's life surrounding his legendary live recordings at the Folsom State Prison in California (At Folsom Prison,1968).

Bestor Cram directs this hodgepodge of biographical flashbacks, concert footage, memoir narration, prison stories, interviews with Cash's children and former Folsom inmates, animated sequences, handsome photos documenting the event by photojournalist Jim Marshall and, of course, a soundtrack that will never get old. Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison goes beyond the scope of your average music doc by revealing how the experience had a profound impact on Cash.

What was the first album you ever got? NXNE programmers stir up some nostalgia with documentaries about records. I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store (see trailer below) is billed with local shorts: Michael Jasen's Finding The Groove: A Vinyl Documentary and Record by Dylan Reibling on Saturday, June 20th.

But whether or not you like a music movie really depends on whether you like the music. I mention this for two reasons: The Briefs: The Greatest Story Ever Told and James Blunt: Till You're Told to Stop. Both docs follow musicians from their start in the industry, gunning for that big break, and feature concert footage, backstage interviews, and a glimpse at life on the road. And both docs would appeal to, hmm... fans.

The 2009 NXNE Film Festival runs from June 17th to the 21st. Visit the NXNE website for schedules and wristband options. Photo by Jim Marshall, from Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

I Need That Record! Trailer:

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