CNN Films has acquired broadcasting rights to “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President.” The look at the bond between the 39th president and pop and country musicians is slated to be the closing film for AFI DOCS film festival on June 21.
The documentary was originally scheduled to open the 19th annual Tribeca Film Festival, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President” chronicles the Georgian candidate’s relationship with music as a defining part of his campaign for the White House and his presidency. His embrace of music helped the small-town peanut farmer reach out across racial and generational divides.
“Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President” will feature rare, archival footage and interviews with Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan along with segments from Bono, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Roseanne Cash, Chuck Leavell, Andrew Young and Madeleine Albright. The film was was produced by Chris Farrell, written by Bill Flanagan and directed by Mary Wharton, who earned a 2004 Grammy Award for best music film for her documentary “Sam Cooke: Legend.”
“When Chris and Mary came to Plains to show the film to me and my family, it was entertaining and emotional for all of us. The film exceeded my expectations in every way,” said President Carter in a statement. “I’m thrilled that ‘Rock & Roll President’ will reach a broad audience on CNN. Despite the difficult times we are in, the film highlights my personal belief that we should remain hopeful and that music is a powerful source of hope in trying times.”
For Farrell and Wharton, they said that signing with CNN films is a “significant step” toward achieving the goal of illuminating President Carter’s love for era-defining music.
“When we started this journey two-and-one-half years ago, our goal was to tell an interesting and surprising story about President Carter and his relationship with music, in the hopes that it would make people see him in a new light. Being able to share the film with millions of Americans through this deal with CNN Films is a significant step towards achieving that goal,” said Farrell and Wharton. “The fact that we were able to screen the film for the President and receive his endorsement has been one of the most gratifying aspects of the project. We hope that CNN viewers will come away with a new appreciation for not only his moral courage and leadership, but also the fact that he is pretty cool.”
Stacey Wolf, senior vice president for business affairs for CNN Worldwide on behalf of CNN Films, and Submarine Entertainment’s Dan Braun and Josh Braun negotiated the deal, which is a Not Just Peanuts production.
(Pictured: President Jimmy Carter and Willie Nelson)