With an apt title, The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash, a 90-minute YouTube documentary on the life of the legendary musician will start airing for free on November 11, 2019. DigitalMusicNews (DMN) notes that the film was directed by Thom Zimmy, a Grammy and Emmy-winning director, who among other things, directed the recent documentary hit Springsteen on Broadway.
YouTube’s original plan was to make the film available only to its Premium subscribers on October 8 but the change is possibly due to the new company policy, as the DMN puts it, “in which the majority of its programming — both films and series — will be available for free, supported by advertisements.” Whether this means that YouTube will eventually phase out the Premium subscription is still not clear. On the other hand, “Google/Alphabet appears to be phasing out Google Play Music in favor of its emerging YouTube Music platform.”
The Johnny Cash documentary originally premiered this March at the SXSW Film Festival and was also screened at Telluride and the 50th Annual Nashville Film Festival. Along with previously available footage, the film includes some recently discovered material, along with the interviews with Rosanne Cash, John Carter Cash, Robert Duvall, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, and Paul Muldoon.
DMN also notes, “Variety critic Joy Leydon called the film both ‘tightly focused’ and ‘impressively multifaceted,’ while noting that the documentary goes beyond ‘familiar myths’ to shine a light on Cash’s life.”