My documentary Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable tells more of my story from age 13 until now. Beyond the beauty, fun, and inspiration of the film, our hope is that this documentary encourages you to embrace change, step into the unknown, and not let certain things in your life define you.
We hope you enjoy watching Unstoppable and then talk about it with the people in your life.
Here is a Q & A with filmmaker Aaron Lieber that will give you a behind the scenes glimpse of some fun moments, favorite scenes, and his hope for this film.
Q & A with Unstoppable Director Aaron Lieber
How did Unstoppable go from the 10 minute sports performance short film it was originally intended to be, to the feature length documentary Unstoppable?
In 2011 and 2012 I went on two different trips with Bethany where I saw that her surfing ability was on par with the best girls in the world. That inspired me to pitch Bethany to make a short performance piece to show the world what a talented surfer she is. We started shooting in June 2014 and after our third trip Bethany & her husband Adam found out she was pregnant. That was when the big shift happened. The decision was to either make a short edit with the content we already had, or to continue filming and see where things would end up. I could see the potential for something bigger, even though I wasn’t exactly sure what it would be, I had a feeling it would be worth filming it all and figuring it out.
Why were you compelled to tell the untold story of the Soul Surfer, from then til now?
The format of a documentary is just different than a feature film and Unstoppable is an opportunity to see the real Bethany. [The story of] Soul Surfer was focused around the shark attack incident and Unstoppable goes much further beyond that moment and really highlights how Bethany has adapted and chosen not to let that moment define her life.
goes much further… and really highlights how Bethany has adapted and chosen not to let that moment define her life.
After spending 4 years working with and filming Bethany what did you learn about her that you didn’t know?
I learned a lot! The first thing I learned was that she was a world class athlete and surfer even with one arm. I also learned her pain tolerance is extremely high – she popped a rib out on a trip and didn’t even tell me until after the trip. I am not sure how she was surfing with that kind of pain and not even complaining about it at all.
What are 3-4 words you’d use to describe Bethany?
Determined, Genuine, Athlete, Mother
What was a favorite memory from your travels with Bethany and family?
One of our first trips we were on our way to some outer islands in Indonesia and we had to take a boat ferry overnight and it was really gross – rusty boat with algae growing and cockroaches running around everywhere. We all laughed a lot and enjoyed the adventure of beginning the filming of what would become Unstoppable.
Why do you think the world continues to be captivated with Bethany and her story 16 years after she was thrust into the spotlight as a 13 year old?
I think people are still captivated by Bethany because of how she continues to adapt and challenges everyone’s perception of what people assume would be possible for her. She continues to defy the odds and show the world what is possible.
she continues to adapt and challenges everyone’s perception of what people assume would be possible for her
– Aaron Lieber
What do you hope audiences take away or talk about after seeing Unstoppable?
I hope people are inspired to overcome whatever obstacle they face in their own lives. Most documentaries aren’t inspiring, and this one really is, so I hope people just feel good after watching.
What is your favorite part of Unstoppable?
My favorite part is when Bethany is surfing and training for the Fiji Pro. That scene was the original goal for the film and I am so proud of how it turned out! We nick-named it the “rocky” scene.
What do you think Bethany, Adam, Tobias, and Wesley will be doing 10 years from now?
Gosh, 10 years from now Tobias will be 15 years old. That’s going to be wild. I think they will still be traveling and surfing the best waves in the world.
Thank you, Aaron. I hope that is exactly what we are doing 10 years from now!
is all about adaptation…just like life!
I hope that Unstoppable sparks conversation and inspires you to go after your goals and dreams with a spirit of flexibility and fun. Do what you love and BE Unstoppable!
p.s. If you’d like to go a step further beyond being inspired, join my online course where I’ll equip YOU to be unstoppable in your life through world-class guidance on the most life-changing topics delivered to you every month. We call it the Unstoppable Year… You’ll call it the best year of growth you’ve ever had!