Bits 'n' Pieces: Filmmaker makes final push on Johnny Cash documentary

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photoVancouver filmmaker Beth Harrington

(/The Columbian)

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Trailer for “The Winding Stream”

This isn't the first time that Beth Harrington has said she's almost ready to release her anticipated documentary film about country music's legendary Carter and Cash families.

But it will be the last time, said Harrington, 57, of Vancouver.

"It will happen one way or another this year," she said. "The film is finished. Now we just have to pay for the rights from the big record and publishing companies."

To show the film at festivals, Harrington needs to raise another $45,000. For full rights for all markets, she needs about $200,000.

She plans to host a fundraiser at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at McMenamins' Bagdad Theater in Portland, where she'll show previously unseen clips from the film and talk about the filmmaking process. The Foghorn Stringband will perform at the event, which costs $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

Harrington got the idea to do the film, called "The Winding Stream," in 2001 when she was working with Roseanne Cash, singer-songwriter and eldest daughter of Johnny Cash, for a documentary on women rockabilly singers.

Harrington asked if Roseanne Cash would introduce her to the family and narrate the film, and she agreed.

The film is a history of the Carter family and how it merged with Johnny Cash and his family to become royalty within the country music world. It includes several interviews with members of both families, including Johnny Cash weeks before he died in 2003.

Harrington also interviewed several other musicians for the project, including George Jones and Sheryl Crow.

She's submitted the film to several festivals coming up this spring. It's already been selected for the Cleveland International Film Festival, which runs April 3-14.

She hopes it will be selected for the South By Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, which runs March 8-17.

"They've had my earlier films, and it's a music festival, so I'm hopeful about that," Harrington said. "Most festivals don't announce their lineups until February. But I think hearing from the Cleveland show so soon is a good sign."

After it goes on the film festival circuit, Harrington said she hopes to talk about and show the film locally at the Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver and probably the Bagdad in Portland. She'd also like to show it on Oregon Public Broadcasting, she said.

"Showing it to people is the fun part," Harrington said. "I've been working on this film for a long time."

Visit The Winding Stream or Beth Harrington for more information.

— Sue Vorenberg

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.