Filmmaker Elisabeth has just finished “The Hermit of Manana,” a documentary film described as
the true story of Ray Phillips, a New York City dropout who lived alone on a tiny isolated island [Manana Island, Maine] for fifty years. The film traces his journey, pieces together the stories of those who knew him, and sifts through the myths which engulf his legacy. While the hermit lifestyle seems outlandish to most, this film shows the value in a life of simplicity and survival.
The film will premiere in New York City on May 30 and be available as a DVD sometime in June (and can be reserved via e-mail now). A trailer is available on the web site Harris has established for the film, plus stills, history, and other information.
Elisabeth Harris has worked on projects for major media firms, including Discovery Channel, PBS, and CBS. She early communicated with Hermitary about the project. The film is a captivating historical documentation with a humane and personable approach.
A brief newspaper item in Sydney, Australia, indicates that a grant from a national historical commission will be used to preserve and restore a famous hermit’s house. Part of the item says:
One of few known hermit dwellings in NSW, the historic cave, near Griffith, was home to Valerio Ricetti, who arrived in Australia from Italy in 1914, aged 16, and moved to Griffith in 1929.
The cave includes rock shelters, stone structures, gardens, a water well, stairs, kitchen, chapel, gardens, lookout and inscriptions.
“A Hermit’s Refuge Is Now a Writer’s Muse” is a New York Times article about an eccentric in Mobile Bay, Alabama, named Henry Stuart. Stuart was called the “Hermit of Montrose,” and built a concrete hut in the 1920’s where he wove rugs for a living. Local resident Sonny Brewer has published a novel about Stuart entitled The Poet of Tolstoy Park, so named because Stuart had an interest in Tolstoy. Brewer is trying to have the unusual hut declared a national landmark in order to preserve it. Meanwhile, Brewer uses the hut for meditation. His guestbook shows over two thousand visitors to the hut, many interested in communicating with the spirit of Stuart.