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Director: Sean McNamara
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
Sounds like a good movie, huh?
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
They found said director in Sean
McNamara (Raise Your Voice, Race
to Space, That’s So Raven), whose
priorities were two requests straight
“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
(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
“We just have rad parents,” Noah
continues. “Super dedicated and
“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
EntErtainmEnt by caroline lusk