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...As If They Were Angels — An Evening with the Filmmaker

Join us for a very special screening of …As If They Were Angels, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Terry Strauss.

Two months after Pearl Harbor and the US entry into World War II, a pair of destroyers escorted a supply ship through the treacherous North Atlantic to a base in Newfoundland. A nasty storm, combined with an officer’s reluctance to trust his experienced navigator and new radar system, ran ships aground on the rocks of adjacent coves. More than 200 American sailors lost their lives, but nearly as many were rescued by local miners and townspeople. This is a story of sacrifice, endurance, and heroism.

Running time: 85 minutes
Original release: October 6, 2018


This event is presented in partnership with the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit.

Two Nights Only!

Monday, October 21 at 7:30pm

General admission: $10
Luxury box seating (includes four reserved seats): $80

Tuesday, October 22 at 7:30pm

General admission: $10
Luxury box seating is sold out for this event

I’m always amazed at how big a story it is and how very, very little known it is.
— Terry Strauss

About the Filmmaker


As a producer, writer, and director Terry Strauss has a keen sense of moving and effective ways to tell a story. Raised with a filmmaker father and a belief that film can inspire and change attitudes, perhaps this work was inevitable. But following graduation from UC Berkeley, she worked instead developing alternative Criminal Justice programs for the City of New York, some of which became national models. During a brief stint as the weather girl for a local cable station in Aspen, Colorado, she discovered the appeal of communicating through film and video. From then on, she learned as she produced.

Of her first independent one hour special, The Mind’s Eye: The Experience of Learning, Disney wrote, “The office has been inundated with calls and letters from parents, teachers and professionals…“

Of her most recent public television series Ultimate Restorations, sponsoring station KQED said, “The ratings and the response from audiences across the country have validated our own enthusiasm for the series.”

In between, Terry has produced programs for PBS, The Disney Channel and Lifetime. She’s told award-winning stories of our gigantic human puzzle.

About the Associate Producer


Phoebe Wall Howard, a Grosse Pointe native, is the associate producer of this film. Her grandfather, a U.S. Navy sailor who served during World War I on the gunboat USS Don Juan de Austria, left Detroit in July 1917 for Newport, Rhode Island to patrol for enemy submarines along the East Coast. Robert Gunther Wall was a painter by trade whose family ties to Corktown dated back to the 1860s. During the Great Depression, Wall was “a ticket taker” at the Windsor Tunnel. His son Robert Thomas Wall was in the U.S. Navy reserve while attending Mackenzie High in Detroit and later served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Phoebe recently moved to Detroit from California to work as an autos reporter at The Detroit Free Press.

About the Historical Event

...With all of the amazing humanity displayed and the number of lives they saved…no one talked about it.
— Terry Strauss

The USS Pollux was carrying supplies from Maine to a US Naval base in Argentia, Newfoundland. It was accompanied by the USS Truxtun (an older WWI vessel) and the USS Wilkes (a flagship with new radar navigation) for guidance protection. In the midst of a ruthless storm, they tentatively traveled through German “wolfpack” territory. As Mother Nature roared, the USS Pollux and Truxtun crashed into the rocky cliffs of Newfoundland’s frosty coast. It would take a miracle to save these stranded souls.

Most of the young sailors died trying to swim ashore through crude oil and freezing temperatures. Against all odds, a couple of men succeeded as they climbed up the frozen cliffs and were fortunate enough to stumble upon two compassionate communities known as Lawn and St. Lawrence. Comprised mostly of miners and fisherman, its citizens were determined to save as many lives as possible. These families took wounded Americans into their homes and cared for them until help arrived from the Navy. In 1988, the American survivors returned to Newfoundland and reunited with their rescuers. It was at this reunion where Strauss began filming her emotional and eye-opening documentary, …As If They Were Angels.

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Later Event: November 8
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