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For 80 years, Merle Hayden dedicated his life to crusading for the utopian movement Lawsonomy and preserving the legacy of its leader, Alfred Lawson. Merle's high school sweetheart, Betty Kasch, wishes Merle instead would devote himself to her.


Manlife blends Merle's and Betty’s story with a vast collection of Lawsonian artifacts to tell their tale alongside Lawson’s. Together, they examine the history of a fringe society, the memory of which Merle believes will cease to exist when he does unless he finds another student to carry on the crusade.

Directed by: Ryan Sarnowski

Starring: Mark Metcalf


“Manlife takes its title from one of Lawson’s books; but the film’s title is also a play on words about the measure of a man’s life.” -MILWAUKEE MAGAZINE

“A deeply touching documentary, and one of the best I’ve seen this year” - DAILY GRINDHOUSE

“We are not surprised that “MANLIFE”, which sold out, won the audience award.” - SCREEN MATTERS

“A documentary that, like an optical illusion, is perpetually turning itself inside out, and like the best illusion, demands both our attention to its details and our focus on all it leaves behind.” - CINE-FILE

“Manlife is a wonderfully universal shows one man who, at 90, just doesn’t quit.” - URBAN MATTER

“If you haven’t heard of Lawsonomy... that’s because the government doesn’t want you to know” - CHICAGO READER


Chicago Underground Film Festival

Audience Award


Chicago Underground Film Festival 2017

Free Range Film Festival

Driftless Film Festival

Doctober Film Festival

MKE Film Festival 2017

Athens international Film & Video Festival

New Hampshire Film Festival

Beloit International Film Festival

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