Soul Surfer Director: Sean McNamara Picture this. It’s Halloween. The ocean waters seem still, the waves are good and then, out of nowhere, a shark attack. Drama ensues, the heroine survives and is back in the water in a month, placing at Nationals within five months and taking the crown in a year. Sounds like a good movie, huh? It is. What’s better? It’s absolutely, one hundred percent true. Soul Surfer is the story of Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer from Hawaii, who lost her arm in a freak shark attack, but went on to become an inspiration to millions around the world. With a story like hers, it didn’t take long for Hollywood to come knocking. It did take some time, however, to ensure that the right director was at the helm and the authenticity of the story shone through. They found said director in Sean McNamara (Raise Your Voice, Race to Space, That’s So Raven), whose priorities were two requests straight from Bethany. “There were two aspects she wanted to get right,” he says. “One, her Christianity and love for Jesus. Number two was the surfing. It had to be good.” And it is! Not only is the cinematography breathtaking (thanks to filming in both Hawaii and Tahiti); the script—the way that faith and God and love and trust are framed—is really, really good. “I’m a Christian and I like to go to good movies,” says McNamara. “I wanted to make a decent movie that’s not preachy. Bethany’s faith is just who she is so it had to be a part of the movie.” Not only is her faith an integral part; Bethany’s entire family played key roles in the film, as well as her recovery and continued ministry. “We’re thankful to Sean McNamara and Affirm Films for allowing us to be so close to the film,” says Noah Hamilton, Bethany’s older brother. “The last seven years have been a crazy adventure. We’ve all gotten really involved with her story.” That the Hamiltons approached this as a family is no surprise, given the way they’ve always been with their kids. “We just have rad parents,” Noah continues. “Super dedicated and selfless.” “My parents are amazing,” says the girl behind it all, Bethany. “When I was young, they introduced me to Jesus Christ which has been the stronghold of everything. A lot of Film EntErtainmEnt by caroline lusk 54 CCM