Beth Harrington is an independent producer, director and writer, whose fervor for American history, music and culture has led to a series of award-winning and critically acclaimed films.
Whether exploring the aftermath of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, chronicling the history of the Aleutian Islands or drinking up the world of craft beer brewing, Beth seamlessly straddles the line between objective journalistic integrity and a passion for every subject. As a result, her films are both thought provoking and heartfelt.
Beth’s most recent works, The Winding Stream – The Carters, The Cashes and The Course of Country Music and the Grammy-nominated Welcome to the Club – The Women of Rockabilly, reflect her long-standing love of music. A rock and roll singer and guitarist, she is most noted for her years as a member of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers on the Warner Bros. Sire Records label.
A Boston native, Beth embedded herself in the historic North End neighborhood after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Public Communications at Syracuse University. Through her association with Boston’s Documentary Guild and WGBH, she worked as a line producer and associate producer on various shows for PBS, among them programs for NOVA and Frontline. These shows were honored with a number of awards, including a Peabody (Dating in the Age of AIDS) and two National Emmy nominations (In the Path of a Killer Volcano and Apollo 13: To The Edge and Back).
While also earning her Master’s degree in American Studies from University of Massachusetts – Boston, Beth worked on her own films. She immersed herself in the local culture, recording the annual Italian-American religious festivals. Her fascination with the urban rituals led to a trilogy of documentaries, culminating with The Blinking Madonna and Other Miracles, which chronicled Beth’s own personal miracle.
Not long after the statue of the Virgin Mary blinked at her, Beth moved to the Pacific Northwest. There she enjoys a steady and productive relationship as an independent contractor with Oregon Public Broadcasting, producing, researching and developing shows for national air. Through OPB she performed producer/director/writer duties for the popular PBS series History Detectives.
Beth is active in various film communities. She is a past President of Women in Film/New England and a former Vice President of Women in Film/Seattle. She is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. She has been a media instructor at Washington State University, Lewis & Clark College and Bunker Hill Community College, among others.
Photo by Amy McMullen