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Documentary Co-Producer to Make First Trip to Arkansas to Give Presentation at Johnny Cash Heritage Festival


JONESBORO – Even though she has never been to Arkansas, Pam Tubridy Baucom has diligently been working with the filmmaking team at Florentine Films on the Johnny Cash segments of the eight-part documentary Country Music by acclaimed film maker Ken Burns. She is a co-producer of the film and will be coming to the state to participate in the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival, Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 17-19, in Dyess.

Baucom, who has worked at Florentine Films since 1993, will be one of three filmmakers (including William Ferris and Thom Zimny) serving as featured presenters on Friday, Oct. 18, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., at the Dyess Community Center. Admission is $15 with tickets available through the festival website, JohnnyCashHeritageFestival.com, or by contacting the Central Box Office in the Arkansas State University First National Bank Arena at the lower red entrance, 870-972-2781 or 800-745-3000.

The special presentations, hosted by Rosanne Cash, will conclude the festival’s two-day symposium, “Our Musical Genealogy: Country Music and the American Experience.”

“I am honored to have been asked to represent our Country Music filmmaking team at the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival,” said Baucom. “This will be my first visit to Arkansas, to Dyess and to the Cash family home. I am delighted to be joining guests from the Cash and Carter families to celebrate the remarkable legacy of Johnny Cash.”

A 32-minute clip reel will be shown, with scenes featuring Johnny Cash’s childhood, time in the Army and life in Memphis; his early days recording and on the road with the Tennessee Two; and his later career and relationship with his daughter, Rosanne. A question and answer session about the filmmaking process will follow.

Baucom spent the first 10 years of her professional life as a teacher — first in a private school for children with dyslexia, then as the elementary art teacher in a public school. In 1993, after a move to New Hampshire with her husband, Jim — and nine years at home with their two young children — she began her film career at Florentine Films as Ken Burns’ assistant.

“I had no background in filmmaking but being part of the day-to-day operations of our company while surrounded by the seasoned producers and editors on our team was the best tutorial in filmmaking anyone could imagine,” she said. In 2009, after 16-plus years as Ken’s assistant, she moved into the role of producer, and along with Ken’s long-time supervising film editor, Paul Barnes, began work on a seven-part, 14-hour series, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. 

The idea for a film on country music was suggested by a friend of Burns in 2010, and writer/producer Dayton Duncan, along with fellow producer Julie Dunfey, committed to making the film. In June 2013 during the final year of post-production work on The Roosevelts, Baucom started co-producing responsibilities on Country Music. Over the next five years, research and script writing continued, 101 interviews were conducted, 700 hours of archival footage was compiled, and editing began. Four photo researchers gathered more than 100,000 images from hundreds of sources, with 3,200-plus photographs making the final cut. 

“Our colleague, Emily Mosher, was instrumental in organizing this enormous photographic database, including the vast amount of Carter and Cash material,” Baucom added. “Stories of the Carter and Cash families and their impact on the history and trajectory of country music are woven into every episode of our film — from the first episode, where we meet A.P., Sara and Maybelle Carter, to the last, where the passing of June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash is movingly told.”  

Associate producer Susan Shumaker’s focus was on Carter family material, while Baucom’s research centered on Johnny Cash and his family. “All of his children – Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, Tara and John Carter — were generous and kind. Our trips to their homes and archives uncovered a trove of photographs and home movies that bear witness to a life shaped and defined by faith, loss, sorrow and love.

“None of this would have been possible without the gracious cooperation of Arkansas State University and the Carter and Cash families. Associate producer Susanna Steisel worked closely with Ruth Hawkins (retired executive director of A-State Heritage Sites) to identify and locate the very best photographs of Johnny Cash’s early family life and his Dyess home,” she stated. “Johnny Cash’s legacy is complex and deeply human, and it is in these visual records of his life that we found the seeds to that legacy.”

Baucom concluded, “Dayton Duncan’s rich and evocative writing, in combination with photographs and footage of individual family members, their homes, celebrations, quiet moments and public performances, allowed us to live with and understand, even just for a little while, what it is to be a Carter, to be a Cash.”

Festival Tickets

The Johnny Cash Heritage Festival concludes Saturday, Oct. 19, with a concert featuring Grammy Award winners and country music legends Rosanne Cash and Marty Stuart, along with Johnny Cash siblings Joanne Cash and Tommy Cash and other members of the Cash family, and 2018 ACMA “Country Artist of the Year” Cory Jackson. VIP Full Circle ticket packages that include seating in a special reserved section for the concert, field parking adjacent to the concert, adission to the ticketed Friday afternoon special presentations, and an invitation to a private Friday evening “suppertime stations” event with members of the Cash family have sold out.

Concert ticket prices are $35 plus applicable fees for general admission and $100 plus applicable fees for reserved chair seating. A limited number of parking passes for the field adjacent to the concert are available for $50 to $100 ticket purchasers until spaces run out.

The festival is coordinated through Arkansas State University Heritage Sites and licensed through the John R. Cash Revocable Trust. 

Pam Baucom Photo by Craig Mellish IMG_5334_news.jpg
Pam Tubridy Baucom. — Photo by Craig Melish.