THE ROBERT MANRY PROJECT - MANRY AT SEA ~ In the Wake of a Dream. The story of a dream that came true


MANRY AT SEA ~ In the Wake of a Dream

A documentary film by Steve Wystrach

There is no dream so large, that it can’t fit into a tiny boat.


Hello. I’m Steve Wystrach, the producer and director of MANRY AT SEA. I’m so grateful to be the one who stumbled upon the task of making this film. Two decades ago, I made a simple observation reading “Tinkerbelle” by Robert Manry (Harper & Row, 1966). It’s a great adventure yarn with a message about never surrendering your dreams, and an inspiring roadmap of how to make your dreams come true.

The appendix noted that Manry carried a 16mm movie camera on his voyage across the Atlantic. I wondered, “Where is the film?” That began a years-long archival journey. Although Manry died in 1971, I eventually unearthed all of his surviving films, home movies, photographs, correspondence, and thousands of newspaper clippings, buried in the back of his brother’s garage in Calgary, Alberta. I’ve since interviewed all of his surviving family and other key people involved in the story, many of whom are now deceased.

It was summer, 1965, twilight of the analog age – color TV had just arrived, slide rules still ruled mathematics, copper-bound telephones had dials, and sailors still found their way by compass, sun and stars. Manry was a happy, middle-aged suburban family man who worked at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. His newspaper colleagues were shocked to learn that he had secretly set sail from Cape Cod, heading across 3,200 miles of open ocean to England – in his 13½-foot sloop, Tinkerbelle.

The film weaves several narrative strands into a vibrant story expressed as a song of the sea. The voyage is both adventure and metaphor – a searching portrait of a complex man, masked by his modesty and sense of humor. It’s both a love story and a treatise on self-defining one’s destiny – regardless of culture, class and finances – and achievement through simplicity, ingenuity and tenacity. Plus, it comes with a dramatic twist of intrigue when the Plain Dealer’s crosstown rival hatches an outlandish plot to track down Manry at sea and beat the PD to its own story. The race is on! Filled with high seas exploits, the film also explores loss and tragedy, makes a provocative call to action, and reflects on the nature of dreams, and how their fulfillment is always quite different than anyone could have imagined.

With a rough cut in hand, I’m seeking completion funds to fulfill my own dream of restoring this improbable tale of a reluctant American hero.

Steve Wystrach, Writer, Producer, Director

Los Angeles, California, 2017

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From The Heart Productions selects MANRY AT SEA for Fiscal Sponsorship

MANRY AT SEA,” was selected for fiscal sponsorship by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit. Having a fiscal sponsor means all contributions are TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Additionally, they oversee the filmmaker’s use of all donations, to insure that they are only used for film production expenses.

MANRY AT SEA ~ In the Wake of a Dream

wins film grant competition at the 2017 American Documentary Film Festival



We won a postproduction award at the 2017 American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs, California. 70 submissions, 10 semi-finalists, 4 winners, including MANRY AT SEA!

Help complete this award-winning film.

An ordinary man. A reluctant hero. An astonishing tale.


I still have lots of bills to pay before I can finish the film. Right now, I need funds for final postproduction. I’ve gathered all the stock footage, have the score nearly completed, secured music licenses, have a sound designer polishing the soundtrack, finalizing the animation (and damn it, all of these people want to get paid), and I’m working full time on all the other details of finishing a feature film. Assembly of the finished master has begun and will be complete in October and the sound mix in November. That’s it! Ready for all to see.

It’s costing a LOT of money, and even with cash on hand, some amazing donations from strangers, and a home equity loan, I’m still about $53,200 short. That’s down from nearly $200K a year ago. So I’m getting there.

 I’m also finalizing the credits. I’d love to have you hop aboard and “sea” your name in the credits up there on the screen.

Your generous donation will help me get over the finish line and onto the silver screen. Get your name in the credits for just $27. Help hoist the sail on what one viewer called, “The feel good documentary of the century.” Wow!

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