Image of DVD only - Manhattan, Kansas

DVD only - Manhattan, Kansas


The parent-child relationship is emotionally charged from the moment a person is born, but it becomes especially complex when your single parent is mentally unstable, as is the case for filmmaker Tara Wray.

In her first film, Wray travels to rural Kansas in an attempt to reconnect with her mother, Evie, for the first time since Evie’s psychotic breakdown five years earlier. She finds a parent still chasing her demons, both real and imagined, struggling to make a career for herself as an abstract artist and searching for the Geodetic Center of the United States, the finding of which, Evie says, will bring about world peace.

When Tara takes it upon herself to help in her mother’s search, it sets into motion a surprising chain of events that may just rescue Evie from a catastrophic fate and help Tara reconcile with her mother on different terms.

Manhattan, Kansas premiered at the 2006 SXSW Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. It went on to screen at Lincoln Center and at dozens of festivals worldwide, winning several prizes, and was broadcast domestically on PBS and the Documentary Channel.


Manhattan, Kansas is a touching portrait of [Wray’s] tumultuous relationship with her mentally unstable mother; never self-indulgent, the film shows Wray unabashedly exhibiting her frustration with and love for her mother, in the process creating a story about self-healing and moving on that many will relate to.
— Filmmaker Magazine

Manhattan, Kansas is an evocative personal documentary that unfolds with increasing resonance; a poetic, universal journey.
— Utne Reader

Simple and direct - and emotionally blunt and affecting - Manhattan, Kansas acknowledges that love abides, even when forgiveness is not always easy or possible.
— Film Society of Lincoln Center

It’s an honest look at growing up and letting go … it’s everything a personal documentary should be.
— Marrit Ingman, The Austin Chronicle