Cleveland International Film Festival } March 27 – April 7, 2019 } Tower City Cinemas

Forgotten Footage Finds a Second Wind

April 05, 2018   |   posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers


If there was ever a moment you felt those old, shaky home videos collecting dust in your basement were better off in the garbage, director and film archivist Steve Wystrach would beg to differ. “Never, EVER throw out film!” he proclaims. Wystrach’s first feature documentary, “Manry at Sea~In the Wake of a Dream,” about Robert Manry’s sailing voyage from Cape Cod to England, would have never seen the big screen had it not been for a fortunate rescue.

“It took me two years to locate [Manry’s] brother who was planning on throwing out Manry’s footage with the spring cleaning,” Wystrach recalls. “The footage would’ve been lost, and there wouldn’t have been a film. The following morning, there was a stack of pre-addressed FedEx envelopes on his doorstep.”

Manry, who graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and lived in Cleveland with his family for many years, was a former copy editor for Cleveland’s newspaper, The Plain Dealer (PD). He embarked on his solo sail in 1965, a 16mm camera in hand to capture footage from the open seas. Manry left the PD to write about his adventure. His book, Tinkerbelle, named after his sail boat, was published in 1966 and became a best seller.

“I was familiar with [Manry’s] book and read it for the third time in 1997 while I was preparing to sail a boat from Los Angeles to Hawaii’s Big Island,” says Wystrach. “His book was very inspiring and included an extensive appendix for sailors including a complete equipment list. When I noticed he kept a camera, bells started ringing.”

For two decades, Wystrach worked with Manry’s book editor, his two children, and siblings, and located archival news footage, old radio interviews, and a recording of a lecture Manry gave describing his entire voyage. Four years ago, Wystrach began working with a film editor to start piecing it all together.

“The fact that it took so long was a good thing,” says Wystrach. “Some footage I was only able to locate a year ago, which turned out to be key to the film for a much more interesting, entertaining, thorough story.”

And Cleveland audiences should be grateful for the wait. Wystrach hopes to bring recognition for Manry to his hometown roots.

“He’s become a forgotten character, and he’s certainly a local hero,” Wystrach says. “Most importantly, I want audiences to consider what he did and what he stands for to do whatever it takes to fulfill your dreams. Find a way to keep it alive, prepare for it, and do it.”

Amy Brown

PDF  Download Related PDF [1.4 MB]

Related Screenings:
04/05/18 @ 6:15 PM – Manry at Sea ~ In the Wake of a Dream
04/06/18 @ 1:50 PM – Manry at Sea ~ In the Wake of a Dream
04/07/18 @ 9:35 AM – Manry at Sea ~ In the Wake of a Dream
04/14/18 @ 9:25 AM – Manry at Sea ~ In the Wake of a Dream

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