Soo Film Festival 2023

Block 9-Healing Waters

Short and feature, 117 min, Not rated  Q&A with When Hope Breaks Through filmmaker Matthew Wagner

Win(d) Over Cancer
Win(d) Over Cancer
When Hope Breaks Through
When Hope Breaks Through

About This Program

A short and a feature documentary about people overcoming adversity and raising awareness for their cause on the Great Lakes.

Win(d) Over Cancer

Director: Andrew Jowett

Documentary Short, United States, 2021, 9 min, Color

In the summer of 2020 the world was closed, but our waters were open. The More Kids On Sailboats nonprofit organization took the opportunity to make a difference.

“You don’t want to compare something you love to something you hate. You learn on a boat that goals change, unexpected things happen and you need to have a change of plans. Same thing with cancer.”

Follow our crew of kids as they compete in an offshore sailboat race to raise awareness and money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A race against all adults, professionals, and Mother Nature herself.

Great Lakes Connection: The filmmakers grew up on Lake Huron and the entire film takes place on Lake Erie.

Project Website  Instagram

When Hope Breaks Through

Director: Matthew Wagner

Documentary Feature, Canada, 2023, 108 min, Color

A disabled professional paddleboarder with a passion for mental health sets out to raise awareness and funding for the youth mental health crisis in Canada by paddleboarding across all five Great Lakes.

When Hope Breaks Through is the inspiring story of Mike Shoreman, who was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. This neurological condition left him paralyzed, with vertigo, hearing loss, and vision loss, ultimately leading to depression and a mental health breakdown.

The film immerses the audience in Mike’s epic five crossings, encompassing over 300 kilometers of open water paddling with his dedicated crossings team. Together these strangers come together and form an inseparable bond as they face and conquer obstacles that include boats breaking down, medical emergencies, hallucinations, and everything in between.

Come aboard as Mike Shoreman makes history, becoming the first disabled person to cross all five Great Lakes!

Great Lakes Connection

The subject of the film paddleboarded across all five Great Lakes to raise money for mental health awareness.

Cast & Crew:

Director: Matthew Wagner
Producers: Matthew Wagner, Liana Neumann, Mike Shoreman
Key Cast: Mike Shoreman, Liana Neumann, Jim Peever, Keith Fisher, Michael Landsberg, Allison Crawford

Director Matthew Wagner
Director Biography

Matthew Wagner is a documentary filmmaker based in Michigan who has a passion for documenting unique sub-cultures, outdoor adventures, and stories of impact.

Director Statement

The most powerful way for people to connect to someone is to emotionally engage in another person’s story. In my work I focus primarily on individual subjects or sub-cultures that tell a deep story of impact.

Poster: When Hope Breaks Through

More Info:


Saturday, Sep 16, 4pm

Soo Theatre

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