(April 22, 2023) Virginia Beach, VA – Ministry of Surf shares the "story of one perfect day" when world champion surfers and healing ocean waves "brought the stoke" to children with autism and their heroic families. In heartfelt interviews with caregivers, children, and professional surfers at a Surfers Healing day camp in Virginia Beach, the magic of this one perfect day is captured by Reagan Studios with all the feels.
Ministry of Surf is making the rounds in international film festivals in 2023 and 2024, capturing the Best Humanitarian Short Film at this year's CANNES World Film Festival. See below for more film festival nominations and awards.
“As their tagline says, it was one perfect day. It was such a safe space for us early in Harry’s diagnosis, when we were getting used to being a family in the autistic community. We came out here and for once, our kids were the star of the show,” says Rob Mills, as father featured in Ministry of Surf.
The award-winning short film captures the alchemical power of the spirit of community and the rhythms of the ocean that offers a therapeutic experience for autistic children – who perceive a constant assault on their senses.
Surfers Healing is the original surf camp for children with autism. Israel, "Izzy", and Danielle Paskowitz started Surfers Healing after their son, Isaiah, had a calming experience in the ocean in 1996. "Isaiah is in his twenties now, and the autism I once thought was a curse turned out to be a precious gift. It is an honor to be Isaiah's father, to see Surfers Healing grow and flourish. Every child is beautiful and unique, and every child deserves a moment in the sun," says Izzy.
“We give individuals a chance to encounter the waves, to challenge themselves, to try something new. And since 1 in every 68 US children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD (CDC report, March 2014), our work is more vital than ever,” says Izzy.
“I share the same path with Izzy because I have an autistic brother,” says Ashton Pignat, a professional surfer from Sunshine Coast, Australia. “I can relate. Watching the stoke come out of the kids because they did it, as soon as we get them out there and get them in the wave. I’m really stoked to see how happy they are after enjoying that time on the wave."
Surfers Healing brings together world champion surfers with thousands of children with autism and their family each year at surfing day camps around the world. Through the generous support of their donors and sponsors, all Surfers Healing events are free of charge.
Reagan Studios is an award-winning film production company led by internationally-acclaimed directors and cinematographers, Collins and Keith Reagan. The small family studio is known for their intimate and heartwarming approach to documentary filmmaking, educational projects, music videos, and more.
2023 FILM FESTIVALS
CANNES World Film Festival
(Winner: Best Humanitarian Short Film)
Sweden Film Awards, Stockholm
Best Indie Film Award Festival
Nashville Independent Filmmakers
Oxford Shorts, UK
L’HIFF, Barcelona, Spain
(Winner: Best Short Film)
Surfalorus Film Festival, OBX, NC
(Winner: Best Short Film)
Breck Film Festival
MINT, Montana International
Global Peace Film Festival
Winter Park, FL
South Pacific Film Festival, New Zealand
Tokyo Shorts Film Festival, Japan
Film Fest Tucson, AZ
Australia Independent Film Festival
Brisbane, Gold Coast
UPCOMING (Official Selections)
Coronado Island Film Festival
San Diego Surf Film Festival
Stratford On Avon Film Festival
England, United Kingdom
My Hero International Film Festival
Laguna Beach, CA
2024 FILM FESTIVALS
Beach Cities Inspirational Film Festival
San Clemente, CA
See below for Ministry of Surf media assets for downloading and sharing.
Ministry of Surf Poster. Artwork by Mike Maguire. Click here or on the poster to download a JPEG version.
Reagan Studios founders, Collins Reagan and Keith Reagan