Sweet is the Day

This is a short preview trailer. You can watch the entire film at no charge on the Folkstreams website. Folkstreams is a nonprofit whose mission is to find, preserve, contextualize, and stream documentary films on American folklife.

Watch the entire film at Folkstreams

Sweet Is the Day: A Sacred Harp Family Portrait tells the story of the Woottens, one of the key singing families who have helped Sacred Harp music survive and flourish for more than 150 years. Producer/Folklorist Erin Kellen and Director Jim Carnes intertwine scenes of family gatherings, singing conventions, and farm life in the Sand Mountain region of northeast Alabama with family recollections and more than a dozen songs from the revered shape-note tradition. The video explores how Sacred Harp singing is about more than just music - it is a life-shaping force, reflected by tradition, deep spiritual belief, and the community that embraces it.

  • Film by: Jim Carnes
  • Produced by: Erin Kellen
  • Cinematographer: Jonathan Hamilton, Tom Davenport, Alan Lomax, David Murphree, Bill Windom
  • Sound: Keith Willard, Anne Kimzey
  • Editor: Robert Landau, Chris Speck
  • Other Credits: Audio mixed by New Century Films, Inc., Chapel Hill, NC. Still Photographs: Syble Wooten Adams, Freeman and Jewel Wooten, Terry and Sheila Wooten, Southern Folklore Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Transcription: Amy Brown, Kevin Harter.
  • Funding: This project is supported in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Program, The Folklife Program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The Blount Foundation. This project is supported by a grant from the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Community Folklife Program.
  • Original Format: 8mm: Hi8 Video
  • © 2001, The Alabama Folklife Association
  • 59mins, Color