Heritage/History Lifestyle

CCP Premieres Moonshine Documentary June 17-20

CCP Moonshine Documentary

Police raid of Henderson County moonshine still. Photo courtesy of the Baker-Barber Collection of the Henderson County Public Library

The Center for Cultural Preservation (CCP), a nonprofit dedicated to sharing and preserving cultural heritage, will host the world premieres of its latest documentary, The Spirits Still Move Them, from Thursday, June 17, through Sunday, June 20, at locations across Western North Carolina. “What moonshine was really about was the creative ways that farmers survived under extremely difficult circumstances to put food on the table for their families,” says David Weintraub, director and producer of the film. “Too often the media focus on the violence, the characters with attitude, the stereotypes of drunk, lazy people in the woods. But what I learned was that moonshiners were some of the hardest working, most entrepreneurial parts of the community.”

The film explores Southern Appalachian history by chronicling moonshiners from Yancey County to Spartanburg County (SC), including Cody Bradford, owner of Howling Moon Distillery, Inc. Bradford’s family has lived in Yancey County for more than 200 years. “Moonshine shaped this region and it goes back way before NASCAR and prohibition,” he says. “It was not something a lazy man did to get by and it was not just men making it. Moonshine was usually a family affair: men, women and children all played a part, just like any other part of life in an isolated region that survived mainly by subsistence farming.”

CCP Moonshine Documentary

Don Smith, fifth-generation moonshiner

The Spirits Still Move Them will have its world premieres at The Orange Peel in Asheville on Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m.; at North River Farms in Mills River on Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m.; and at Southern Appalachian Brewery in Hendersonville on Sunday, June 20, at 8 p.m. All outside locations are subject to weather dates if necessary. Each screening will begin with a performance by Apple Country String Band and be followed by a discussion with the director and local moonshiners.

This film is made possible by Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, the Community Foundation of Henderson County and North Carolina Humanities. Advanced reservations are recommended for each screening. For information and tickets, visit SaveCulture.org or call the Center at 828.692.8062.

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