Sunny Side of Life (Film)

Sunny Side of Life

  •  Scott Faulkner, Anthony Slone, and Jack Wright
  •  1985
  • Color IconColor
  •  55:02
  •  16 mm film
Film Description
The Carter family first came into international fame in the 1920s and ’30s through the records and radio shows of A.P. Carter, his wife Sara, and sister-in-law Maybelle, who spread the music of the southern mountains around the world. Sunny Side of Life celebrates the legacy of this country music dynasty by focusing on the Carter Family Fold in Maces Spring, Virginia, an old-time music hall founded in 1975 by A.P. and Sara's children Janette, Joe, and Gladys. Sunny Side of Life features Saturday night performances at the Fold by such artists as the Home Folks, Red Clay Ramblers, and Hot Mud Family, as well as lots of flatfooting and clogging by the audience. The film includes a history of the Carter Family and an examination of the way old-time music continues to be integrated into the life of this community.

Screenings & Festivals
  • American Film Festival
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute
  • UCLA Film and Folklore Festival

This film was preserved by Appalshop Archive with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. To support the work of preserving and safeguarding the collections, please consider designating a donation to Appalshop Archive.


“A wonderful documentary.” — American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
“A moving, spirited, joyous film.” — Nashville Network
“Surpasses any documentary I have seen in articulating the emotional ties which lie at the heart of old-time country music and the Appalachian experience.” — Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, East Tennessee State University
“The music speaks in an infectious, unaffected way. Highly recommended.” — Choice