Since 2003, Vancouver-based filmmaker Beth Harrington has been working on The Winding Stream, a project about the Carter-Cash music dynasty and their monumental contribution to American country music. In the interim she’s worked on and finished other projects – Harrington is an award-winning, Grammy-nominated director with a long list of work under her belt – but fate and funding have not yet coincided to bring this particular project to completion – until now.
With principal photography complete and the backing of a small group of local supporters committed to helping raise the funds needed, Harrington is sure that The Winding Stream’s time has finally come.
“The film industry changed while I was working on this project,” Harrington said. It moved from film to digital, and the way projects are funded changed entirely, too, she explained. Like publishing and other creative industries, buyers who once offered advances to complete projects now wanted finished products first.
The Winding Stream: The Carters, the Cashes and the Course of Country Music tells the story of A.P. Carter, his wife Sara and his sister-in-law Maybelle, who became three of the earliest stars of country music. They collected traditional songs that had been sung in the Appalachian foothills for generations, crafted them into commercial successes and turned the then-underplayed guitar into a cornerstone instrument for American music. Maybelle’s daughter, June, married country music legend Johnny Cash. The Carter-Cash family continues making music to this day, and without their contributions, country music would not be what we know it as today.
According to Harrington, The Winding Stream “is an American story about family, music and culture.” It includes an impressive lineup of American music stars, and will be the first film to tell the entire story of the Carters and Cashes. Thanks to a Kickstarter fundraiser last year and a recent grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Harrington has been able to complete principal photography and begin the final film editing process.
Originally from Boston, Harrington moved to Vancouver in 1996.
“When I first moved here, I thought, ‘This is really going to be different.’ But in the last few years, I really see Vancouver coming into its own.”
The local press and film community, Harrington said, has “been very good to me” over the years. But, she added, the outpouring of support she’s recently seen for The Winding Stream is something new.
A small group of supporters, made up of local business and arts leaders, filmmakers and musicians, and others, has joined together to help Harrington secure the funding to complete the project.
“We’re calling it the Carter-Cash Council,” she said, and “we are seeking a variety of funding sources. For a company that wants to align itself with a great American cultural story and receive national exposure, it could really be a great match.”
Further, Harrington said she’s excited about the possibility inherent in a local push to fund the project.
“I think it would be a really interesting story to look back and be able to say this community rallied around this project,” she said. “This is an American story that I think a town like Vancouver can really get behind. [Vancouver] has that mix of the urban and the rural that’s really reflected in a story like this.”
To learn more about Harrington’s latest project, The Winding Stream: The Carters, the Cashes and the Course of Country Music, visit www.thewindingstream.com.