Pulling Heart Strings

There's a new movement in surf cinema of late, and while some might call it the "chick flick revolution", there's no denying that some of the best storylines in surf cinema today are centered on female surfers. Last fall Sofia, a movie based on former women's world champion Sofia Mulanovich won the Best Documentary award at the annual SURFER Poll and Video Awards show. The movie was a touching recount of her humble roots, her rise to glory and the subsequent impact her championship has had in her native country.

The success of Sofia comes on the heels of Heart of the Sea, a beautiful and inspiring portrait of the late surfing legend Rell Sunn, best known as the Queen of Makaha. Heart of the Sea is a testament to the aloha spirit Sunn so generously gave during her short 45 years on earth. The movie has been out since 2003, but will be screening tonight in Laguna Beach at the Forum Theatre located in the Festival of the Arts grounds. The film is part of the Laguna Beach Film Society documentary series tribute to Women in Film. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at 6:45 pm at the Theatre, with the show at 7pm followed by a Q & A session.

Of course, if you've already seen the Rell movie and your up for another touching story about a female surfer, than you need only to drive up the road, because Heart of a Soul Surfer will be screening in Huntington Beach at the Pier Side Surf City 6 cinemas tonight as well. This movie is the touching story of Bethany Hamilton, and her courageous battle physically, mentally and spiritually while making her way back into the water and the competitive spotlight after having her arm bitten off in a shark attack. Warning: there's a good chance your eyes will swell up with this one. The movie starts at 7 pm and 9 pm, with more showings in Irvine and Carlsbad on the 10th and 11th. For more listings on Bethany's movie visit walkingonwater.com, where you can also view a trailer.

While none of these movies will ever be considered hardcore surf flicks, it's worth pointing out that that was never the intent of their directors. In all three movies mentioned here, surfing is simply a backdrop to some powerful human experiences. After watching these movies we think you'll agree such inspirational stories are a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated surf movie genre. If you can't catch the live screenings of these films when they come your way, just be sure to look for them on video. You'll be glad you did.