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The premiere, at the Quad Cinema in NYC, was a grand success and lots of fun. (See photos and reviews below.) We are currently talking with distributors and will post here the results of those discussions. To learn where you can see Red Dot on the Ocean in the future, check this website or subscribe via email for updates (see box in right hand column).
“Endlessly engrossing….It’s hard to get more inspirational than the real-life voyage of Matt Rutherford, a former juvenile offender with five prison stints and a couple of learning disabilities who became the first person to solo circumnavigate the Americas nonstop….Documentarian Amy Flannery gives us a feel for the constant pounding of the waves in rough water, juxtaposed with the dangerous beauty of icebergs….You can’t help but be gratified at this eminently nice guy’s amazing accomplishment. ‘We all have a gift,’ he says. ‘We all have a place in this world.’ And he’s clearly seen enough of the world to say that with some authority.”
–Frank Lovece, FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL
“Red Dot on the Ocean portrays the story as triumph over adversity and wayward youth….we learn that he spent part of his childhood in a cult and struggled with ADHD. That condition may have led him to — and helped him thrive in–the adrenaline highs of sailing…. plays like an upbeat, real-life “All Is Lost,” as Mr. Rutherford, with relatively simple sailing equipment, contends with setbacks and the elements.”
–By Ben Kenigsberg, NEW YORK TIMES
“It’s an inspiring tale, to be sure, made more so by his eventual triumph that resulted in, among other accolades, SenatorTom Harkin singing his praises before Congress….Rutherford is an engagingly charismatic, charmingly self-deprecating figure, and his amusing running commentary throughout his voyage makes a nice contrast to Robert Redford’s taciturn silence throughout the fictional, similarly-themed All is Lost. His bravery is matched by his generosity—his journey served to raise $120,000 for an organization devoted to teaching sailing to disabled people. His story certainly deserved to be told…”
–Frank Scheck, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“A kid who’s spent formative years in an obscure cult, rehab, juvenile detention, and, ultimately, prison, isn’t likely to grow up to solo-navigate around the Americas in a leaky boat. ButMatt Rutherford did, without stopping, and thanks to the documentary Red Dot on the Ocean, we’re privy to his adventures.”
–Daphne Howland, VILLAGE VOICE
“Director Amy Flannery balances the footage of the Rutherford’s voyage with background information about his troubled childhood …. both his childhood and his voyage are compelling….The way that he changed his life 180 degrees after being a street punk feels quite inspirational and poignant. Red Dot on the Ocean does have its fair share of thrills to boot … as Rutherford battles the forces of nature, especially in the rough waters of the North [West] Passage where one tiny error can lead to imminent death.”
— Avi Offer, NYC MOVIE GURU
“In a word: inspiring….It deserves to become a classic….I found myself on the edge of my seat, my heart racing….”
— Andy Schell, 59-NORTH.COM, contributing editor SAIL magazine
“This is a remarkable film, one of the best sailing documentaries ever produced…. What makes this story so engrossing, though, is that the sailing part is only half the tale…. Matt’s childhood was a nightmare, a brutal combination of drugs, cults, depression, learning disabilities and, ultimately, prison. And his difficult, winding path from troubled kid to bold adventurer and record-setting sailor is truly an inspirational tale that this terrific documentary captures well. Highly recommended…”
— Herb McCormick, Senior Editor, CRUISING WORLD MAGAZINE
Red Dot on the Ocean has received a Letter of Interest from WPBT2 Miami Public Television, a major presenter of independent documentaries to American Public Television for national distribution through PBS. We are in discussions with WPBT2 about details.
Companies (except automotive), organizations, and foundations interested in becoming a PBS Underwriter for Red Dot should contact us. Besides associating your brand with Red Dot and PBS, your co-underwriter will be American Honda Motors, our corporate sponsor. For more information fill out our Contact form, email email@example.com, or call 301-358-5262.
On February 16 we screened the rough cut of Red Dot on the Ocean to our first test audience in Lake Forest Illinois. It was a sophisticated and opinionated bunch who were not afraid to speak their mind. Naturally I was a little nervous.
I was overwhelmed with the positive response on the audience questionnaires. They loved it. Many people came up to me afterward and told me they wished they’d invited more friends or their children. I was thrilled to see so many people moved by the work. Many commented on how they enjoyed the fact that it was not simply a “sailing movie.” They were moved by Matt’s backstory and impressed and inspired by all the adversity he overcame in his youth.
The rough cut of Red Dot on the Ocean is complete! We are currently showing it to focus groups and a few industry professionals for feedback. When results are in we will make the necessary adjustments and then seek finishing funds and a distribution deal. Additional funding will allow us to create better maps, pay for some stock footage, and improve the audio quality of the movie.
Here’s what a couple people have said who have seen the rough cut.
Wow! Total tears at the end. … you found the way to layer it all for sailors, but especially non-sailors alike. It has been transformed into a “Life” movie, and an inspiration for everyone…….BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
– Dietra Nickerson, Contractor/Re-modeler/Interior Designer
I thought it was great! I watched it with one of my friends and he was totally into it, too. Now he wants to get a sailboat and cruise all over the world.
– Max Schmitz, Computer Systems Engineer
Soon we will be submitting Red Dot to select film festivals around the country. A schedule of festival screenings will be posted on this website. I hope you get a chance to see Red Dot on the Ocean very soon!
Amy Flannery, Director and co-Producer, Red Dot on the Ocean
Amy Flannery and Tory Salvia will be at the 2013 US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, October 10-14. Come visit them at TheSailingChannel.TV booth in Tent K5 (not M3 as previously thought) That’s on the Spa Creek Bridge side of the Marriott Hotel. They’d love to talk to you about the soon-to-be-released documentary, Red Dot on the Ocean.
Read Andy Schell’s article about Matt’s research project to study the garbage patch in the Atlantic Ocean. This piece appears in the July/August 2013 issue of Good Old Boat Magazine. In it, Andy describes Matt’s new boat, a Colvin Gazelle schooner, and all the modifications Matt had to make in order to have a seaworthy vessel.
Be sure to read Andy Schell’s article in the March 2013 issue of Spinsheet. In it, Schell relates how Matt plans to sail his newly acquired 42-foot steel-hulled sailboat into the Atlantic Garbage Patch–a region of the Atlantic between Bermuda and the Azores–where currents and weather patterns create a whirlpool-like mess of modern man’s refuse.
Read more about the project at: oceanresearchproject.org