Film Falmouth: ‘Manry At Sea–In the Wake Of A Dream’

“Manry At Sea–In the Wake Of A Dream,” a documentary about the transatlantic crossing of Robert Manry in his 13 1⁄2-foot sailboat, is this year’s first screening for the Woods Hole Film Festival’s Film Falmouth series. The film will be shown at Falmouth Academy on September 22 at 7 PM.

The lineup for the 2018-2019 Woods Hole Film Festival Film Falmouth Screening Series has been announced. Now in its fourth year, Film Falmouth is a monthly series of independent film presented by the Woods Hole Film Festival at Falmouth Academy. Screenings are held in Morse Hall at Falmouth Academy at 7 Highfield Drive.

The selections include films from the 27th Woods Hole Film Festival, as well as independent films curated specifically for the series. The series is part of an effort by the Woods Hole Film Festival to offer year-round independent film programming to supplement the annual summer festival. The series is supported in part by grants from the Cape Cod Five Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Falmouth Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation.

The series begins Saturday, September 22, at 7 PM with the feature documentary film “Manry at Sea–In The Wake of a Dream” by Steve Wystrach. The film runs for 94 minutes and was a runner-up in the category of Best Feature Documentary at this year’s festival.

In 1965, Robert Manry was a middle-age newspaperman in Cleveland. He had a wife and a small 1950s tract home in the suburbs; a daughter and a son; a dog and a cat; a television and a station wagon. He worked the night shift as a copy editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He was a typical, sedentary, suburban, all-American “everyman” who harbored a dream.

Ever since a childhood encounter high in the Himalayas where he had grown up as a boy, he had dreamed of sailing across the sea. He was modest, good-natured, hardworking, and pursued his goal with all the resources he could muster—which included his 13 1⁄2-foot sailing boat, Tinkerbelle.

On the eve of his 47th birthday, he departed secretly from Falmouth Harbor, fearing that if anyone knew his real plans, they would try to stop him. After nearly five weeks, and a thousand miles at sea, a passing freighter stopped and picked up his mail, and word of his extraordinary venture began to spread. Partly because he was a newsman, other news organizations picked up the story. His employers quickly developed a publicity campaign (with the aim of selling more newspapers) and flew Mr. Manry’s family to England for a much-anticipated surprise reunion.

Meanwhile, across town, a rival news team hatched a plot to intercept Tinkerbelle on the high seas. Their cunning scheme ended successfully with the sensational “Scoop at Sea,” in which they snatched Manry’s amazing story from his own colleagues, as they helplessly watched the encounter from airplanes circling overhead. What began as a quiet man’s private endeavor transformed into a wild frenzy of press-fueled public acclaim. By the time Mr. Manry reached England, after sailing 3,200 miles alone in 78 days, he had become an international celebrity and 50,000 cheering well-wishers crowded the quay as he arrived at Falmouth Harbor.

“Manry at Sea” explores the extraordinary story of Robert Manry’s life, his love affair with the sea, his triumphs and setbacks, and the story of his solo transatlantic voyage. It also recounts the high-stakes gamesmanship of legendary journalists who competed fiercely to report the news and—in this case—became the news themselves. The film draws on Mr. Manry’s own films, photographs, letters and notebooks, news accounts, and memoirs to document the remarkable story.

Tickets are $14 per person, $12 for members or $10 for students and veterans, and are on sale now in advance at or at the door of Falmouth Academy on the day of the show. Doors open at 6:30 PM. There is plenty of on-site parking available.

Upcoming screenings include “Capturing the Flag,” a feature documentary with special guests, on October 13; “Return to Mr. Kennedy,” a feature documentary, on December 8; “Mr. Soul, a feature documentary, on January 5; “Inventing Tomorrow,” a feature documentary, on February 8; “Sadie,” a feature drama, on March 2; “This is Home,” a feature documentary, on April 13; and other films which are yet to be announced.

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