On July 9 we had the opportunity to attend the premiere of Unstoppable. This inspiring documentary tells the story of a professional surfer, Bethany Hamilton, who at age 13 was involved in a shark attack on the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. After losing her left arm in the incident, the young surfer was still determined to continue her path to professional surfing. Bethany inspired millions around the world as she was back on the competitive surfing circuit less than a year later. She wrote an autobiography on her experience in 2004, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith. Bethany continues to inspire with every decision she has made since.
Almost a decade later, Bethany continues to combats obstacle after obstacle. Unstoppable gives us a deeper look into Bethany’s life 15 years after the attack. The optimistic surfer has proven to be a fierce competitor amongst others. Her love for the ocean has given her the fiery determination to continue to surf not only through the initial attack, but through her unexpected pregnancy of her first son. In unstoppable, we see Bethany set goal after goal, from placing in competitions, to training advanced surfing tricks, to surfing the most dangerous waves in the world. We see her journey as an athlete and as a role model. Never once has Bethany felt she had a “disability”. In fact, she withdrew from ESPYs nomination for Best Female Athlete with a Disability because she felt it was unfitting. Bethany lives in a world that many would let fear control. This courageous surfer, mother, and athlete shows no limit. Bethany Hamilton is Unstoppable.
The Knockturnal had the opportunity to attend an exclusive Q & A with Bethany Hamilton and more of the crew!
The Knockturnal: Aaron, you followed Bethany around for 4 years. How was it putting together this film?
Aaron Leiber (Director): My background was mostly just making surf films. To step into a realm of having to tell a story for 90 minutes was a new experience for me. Having the crew help me was huge.
Jane Kelly Kosek (Producer): Not only did Aaron give me great footage to work with, we also came into an incredible amount of archive that Bethany’s family had recorded throughout the years. We had 60 hours of film 2 weeks before we blocked. So really it was an incredible journey just trying to weave all this material together and tell the best story possible.”
The Knockturnal: When expanding your family, was there any hesitation to continue to film with the cameras?
Adam Dirks (Husband): We both grew up very family oriented. I think that was going through our heads. We wanted to make sure first and foremost, we were healthy. We were mainly able to talk about our struggles to the camera because Aaron is our friend, you know. Tobias called him Uncle and hes apart of our family. Its cool that you all get to see close into our lives, just because of how close we are with Aaron and being able to share with you guys. Were glad we did it.”
The Knockturnal: Bethany, what do you hope that people watching this movie take away into their own lives?
Bethany Hamilton: To put it simply, you all can live your Unstoppable lives too. Through my passions, my faith in God, and surfing, I was able to overcome so much and just stay true to who I am. I think I’ll always do that.
Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable shows in theatres Friday July 12th. Check out the trailer below!