FilmDistrict, Sony to Release ‘Soul Surfer’ Through TriStar

AnnaSophia Robb stars as Bethany Hamilton, the teen surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack

Bob Berney's FilmDistrict and Sony Pictures will release the true-life surfing drama "Soul Surfer" through TriStar Pictures, the companies announced on Monday.

AnnaSophia Robb stars as Bethany Hamilton, a competitive teenage surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt play her parents, while Carrie Underwood will make her feature film debut in "Soul Surfer," which co-stars Lorraine Nicholson, Kevin Sorbo and Jeremy Sumpter.

"Soul Surfer" is the first picture to go out under FilmDistrict's new deal with Sony. FilmDistrict will handle the marketing campaign for the movie, which will open in wide release on April 15, 2011.

The film is based on Hamilton's memoir "Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board."

Sean McNamara directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Deborah Bonann Schwartz. Oscar-winning screenwriter Ron Bass also worked on the script along with Jen Smolka and Kara Holden.

McNamara produced the picture with David Zelon, Douglas Schwartz, David Brookwell and Roy "Dutch" Hofstetter, while David Tice and Dominic Ianno exec produced.

FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel was instrumental in the distribution deal, having initiated and approved the production while he was an executive at Sony, and then forging the partnership between the studio and Berney's newly-formed company.

Enticing Entertainment and Island Film Group co-financed "Soul Surfer" independently. Mandalay Vision teamed on the production with Brookwell McNamara Entertainment and Life's A Beach Entertainment.