Friday night I saw the world premiere of the documentary Bethany Hamilton: UNSTOPPABLE at Tribeca and was hit on such a deep emotional level. At 13 Bethany was on track to be one of the best surfers in the world if not the greatest when in a terrible twist of fate her arm was bitten off by a shark. Not only did she relearn to swim and surf with one arm but she competed in the NSSA National Championships and won first place in the Explorer Women's division.
At the height of her career she discovered she was pregnant but pregnancy couldn’t keep her from her passion. She competed in the Surf N Sea Pipeline Pro four months pregnant and won first place. She surfed right up until she gave birth and competed 7 weeks after her baby was born giving new meaning to the term “surf like a girl.”
All of these accolades are incredibly impressive but the film goes into great depth about Bethany surfing Jaws (not the shark) a 60 foot wave in Pe’ahi, Hawaii. The swells are deadly, and the water is treacherous. My heart pounded as I watched her fall on her first try. She was crushed by the massive wave three times before her rescue team could get to her. Most people would have gone home after such a brutal wipeout but she got back on her board and mastered Jaws! *Pictured above!
What I learned most from this film is that unstoppable doesn't mean you never lose, that you don’t get beaten down or struggle with feelings of failure. It means that you learn to adapt to whatever life throws your way, that you keep getting up, and never stop trying.
“Anatomy of an Orchid” did not win an award at the Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival but I’m happy to say it was nominated for six nominations including: Best Short Film, Best LGBTQ Subject, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Production Design. Out of 93 films from 17 countries, we are honored to be so recognized.
Unstoppably yours, Xx