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Presiding Bishop Curry featured in “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President”

November 2, 2020
Office of Public Affairs

A chance backstage meeting between Episcopalian Chris Farrell and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at a U2 concert led Farrell to later invite Bishop Curry to take part in the President Jimmy Carter documentary Farrell was producing.

“Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President” shows how Carter’s lifelong passion for music gave him an unexpected edge as a presidential candidate as he tapped into a force that transcended racial and generational divides, and often party lines. Carter’s appreciation for all genres of music and friendships with the likes of Bob Dylan, Gregg Allman, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and Willie Nelson helped to define his administration. 

“People ask me how I decided on having Bishop Curry appear in our film,” said Farrell. “We already had top musicians (e.g. Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Nile Rodgers and Bono), top political and foreign affairs expertise (Andrew Young and Madeline Albright) but spirituality and faith are such a large part of who President Carter was and is that I felt we needed a voice representing that perspective.

“As an Episcopalian I have always admired the Presiding Bishop and his messages. During the making of the film I was backstage at a U2 concert and my wife and I struck up a conversation with Bishop Curry who was there to meet with Bono. A light went off in my head that the presiding bishop was not only a leading religious figure but someone who loves music and who shares and espouses the same values as President Carter. The day we interviewed Bishop Curry was a special day that I will always remember, and we are extremely grateful for his contribution to the film.

Bishop Curry’s interview was recorded on Ash Wednesday, 2019 at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.

This film was made with the full cooperation of the President and includes interviews with people who either have close ties to the story, or who can help illustrate the lasting legacy of President Carter through the passion of their voices. Featuring rare archival era-defining live performances from Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, among others, director Mary Wharton traces how Carter’s genuine approachability, combined with the unifying power of music, became key to his political appeal, and allowed him to connect with voters who may only have known him as a small-town peanut farmer.

“Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President” is available on demand via Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Fandango Now, Microsoft, Sony PlayStation, and various Cable Providers.

Watch the trailer here.

Amanda Skofstad

Public Affairs Officer

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