Unbroken Tradition (1986)

About the Film

Unbroken Tradition is a portrait of Jerry Brown, a ninth generation potter from Hamilton, Alabama. It looks at the continuation of this family tradition since Jerry's great-great-great grandfather set up his potter’s wheel in Georgia around 1800. The film takes the viewer through the steps of making a churn from digging the clay and preparing it for the wheel with a mule-powered pug mill, to the actual turning and firing of the piece. The film also includes Jerry’s explanation of how he came to the potter’s trade relatively late in life, and the difficulty he has had deciding whether to give up logging to become a full-time traditional potter. The film was shot in 1985 and 1986. Jerry Brown received a National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1992.

Music in the film is from Ricky Skaggs' 1982 album "Highways & Heartaches" available on CD from Amazon.com.


  • First place, American Film Festival


For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Herb Smith, Erin Kellen, Joey Brackner, the distributor Appalshop, Inc., or Folkstreams.