Turning the Tide

Turning the Tide is a life-affirming documentary about a remarkable woman using her passion for the ocean to turn around young lives.

Over a 10-day voyage a culturally diverse group of young people, led by Captain Sarah Parry, are thrust together into the very hands-on reality of sailing a tall-ship. Taken out of their comfort zone (without a smartphone in sight), challenged daily, discovering qualities they didn't know they had, all the kids find themselves becoming part of a new interdependent community where everyone plays a vital role to sail the ship. 

Set in the stunning landscape of southern lutruwita/Tasmania, (Australia) we follow Muna, Susan, George, Eloise and Julie as they face the complexities and challenges of sailing a tall ship; from the depths of sea sickness and dejection, grappling with new vocabulary and concepts, overcoming their fears and cementing new friendships...culminating in Command Day when the teenagers take over.

What started out over 26 years ago as a seemingly crazy, self-indulgent passion to build her own tall ship has taken Sarah further than she ever dared imagine. Since building the Windeward Bound with the aid of a team of at-risk youth off the streets of Hobart, this ship has changed thousands of young lives and has lead Sarah to devote her life to the ground-breaking sail-training programs for which she was internationally recognised in Bordeaux in 2017.

At an age when most would be putting their feet up, enjoying a well-deserved retirement, Sarah has never been busier, nor more committed to making a difference.

  • Franck M Dubuc
    Lignes et Paysages, Shariat al-Dhaid, Libre Parcours
  • Francesca Anne Partridge
    Lignes et Paysages, Shariat al -Dhaid
  • Francesca Anne Partridge
    Lines and Landscapes, Shariat al -Dhaid, Libre Parcours
  • Steve Thomas
    Looky Looky-Here Comes Cooky, The Tailings,
  • Sarah Parry AM
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 28 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 9, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    200,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Franck M Dubuc

Franck Dubuc has documentary TV broadcast credits as director, cinematographer and editor in France, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. In 2018 he directed and was DoP for Shariat Al Dhaid 2018 - (52 min documentary) broadcast U.A.E. In 2015 he directed Lignes et Paysages / Lines and Landscapes, for France 3 and in 2011, Libre Parcours- Bernard Jouanneau, 2011 (documentary 52 mn, director, editor, cinematographer) for Planète Justice TV, France. Franck has directed numerous short non-broadcast documentary works, site specific films and interpretative projects in France and Tasmania.

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Director Statement

When I first heard about Captain Sarah Parry I was intrigued by her story. After first meeting and talking with her for two hours, I was determined to find a way to tell it.

I discovered how her own personal journey - from wayward teenage ‘surfie’ to disciplined navy combatant, to the creator and Captain of tall ship 'Windeward Bound', has given her the tools to have an extremely positive effect on thousands of young people, including, most recently, refugees.

Turning the Tide thrusts us into life on board the ‘Windeward Bound’ for the duration of Sarah’s most recent sail training program: the 10 day ‘Youth Leadership Challenge’ with ten teenagers from refugee/migrant backgrounds and ten Aussie-born kids.

« The edge of the ship is the edge of the world » is one of the first things Captain Sarah told me about the voyage. And for the kids, without their smartphones, it isn’t just a metaphor.
Sailing through southern Tasmania’s ever-changing broody skies and grey-green forbidding landscape, a place that many consider to actually be the end of the world, Sarah’s description appears doubly apt.
We follow the highs and lows as the kids are confronted by sea sickness, moments of frustration and fear contrasted with elation and joy. We see the difficulties of learning new vocabulary and understanding and giving orders. We see them evolve from individuals into part of a connected team all working together towards the common goal of keeping the ship afloat and headed in the right direction.
During these few short days, we show barriers being shed, strong connections and new mutual understandings arising. As Tasmanian born Eloise bluntly states to Syrian ex-refugee Julie «...it’s in the news all the time, but we never think about it... we don’t have the opportunity to sit down and talk with you about what you’ve been through.»

This very local Tasmanian story shows how one person's passion and actions can really have a deep, positive impact, and the message is a very powerful metaphor for society as a whole.