Vancouver filmmaker is on a roll

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

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Vancouver filmmaker Beth Harrington's decadelong project "The Winding Stream" doesn't seem to be winding so much anymore.

Instead it's rushing, rafting and splashing its way through the spring film festival circuit across the country.

The film, a history of the Carter Family and how it merged with Johnny Cash and his family to become royalty within the country music world, premiered in mid-March at the South By Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas, where Rolling Stone magazine proclaimed it one of the event's best music movies.

Since then, Harrington has taken it to several festivals across the South and Midwest, racking up some new awards.

The film won Best Music Movie at the Cleveland International Film Festival in late March and won Best Film by a Female Director at the Nashville Film Festival in April.

"There are all kinds of good things happening," Harrington said. "It's really amazing after all this time."

It took Harrington more than 10 years to produce the film, which includes several interviews with members of both the Carter and Cash families, including one with Johnny Cash weeks before he died in 2003.

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

Harrington got the idea for the documentary in 2001 when she was working with Roseanne Cash, singer-songwriter and eldest daughter of Johnny Cash, for a different documentary on women rockabilly singers.

Harrington asked if Roseanne Cash would introduce her to the family and narrate "The Winding Stream," and she agreed.

The film will premiere in Portland on May 3 at the Portland Women's Film Festival, but tickets were nearly sold out by Monday.

She plans to premiere it in Vancouver this fall, possibly in September or October, she said.

Right now, the film only has the copyrights for screening at film festivals, so she can't show it in Clark County unless there is one, she said.

She's still raising money to clear the copyrights for national distribution in theaters. That will cost at least $30,000 more than she's raised so far.

"I have several distributors that are interested, and that's great," Harrington said. "I'm going to be raising money through the summer and fall, so people haven't heard the last of me."

After taking a short break for the Portland premiere, she plans to hit the festival circuit with it again in mid- to late May.

For more on the film, visit thewindingstream.com.