Maya and the Wave – May 2nd

On Thursday, May 2nd, at 7pm at the Emerson Center, the Bozeman Doc Series wraps up its ninth season with the Montana premiere of the award-winning new documentary, Maya and the Wave.

Filmmaker Stephanie Johnes’ thrilling documentary follows world-champion Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira, as she battles monster waves and intense chauvinism in the field of competitive surfing on her quest to break a world record in the waters of Nazaré, Portugal. Johnes chronicles Maya’s pursuit over several years as she perseveres through setbacks, injuries, and a near-death experience to pursue her goal. At turns exhilerating, terrifying and inspiring, Maya and the Wave is a moving chronicle of one woman’s incredible journey.

The film gains an intimacy with Maya and her family that’s rarely attained in profiles of elite athletes. We see her draw strength from her mother, the fashion designer Yamê Reis, and her father, Fernando Gabeira, whose life in radical politics was depicted in the Oscar-nominated film Four Days in September. We watch Maya navigate the choppy waters of the sports business and the tensions that arise over sponsorship, press coverage, and judging. She endures constant undermining that reflects what happens in many fields where women need to work harder than men to get equal recognition. The surfing footage is thrilling and harrowing in equal measure, with aquatic landscapes that command a theatrical experience. When Maya gets on the board, you may find your own toes curling in anticipation of a wild ride.

See a brief clip from the film here.

Maya and the Wave world-premiered at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival to widespread critical acclaim.

“Beautiful and inspiring… magnificent” Deadline

“Graceful and elegant…9/10” Film Threat

“What makes Maya such a compelling subject and Johnes’s portrait of her so different from films about male surf legends, is Gabeira’s willingness to admit her fear. “I do it because I’m afraid. It wouldn’t be exhilarating if I wasn’t scared,” she shares. Most big wave surfers are adrenaline junkies; it’s in embracing this fear that brings the courage to tackle these water giants over and over and over again. There’s something glorious about Gabeira’s innate understanding of this, but also her raw honesty in admitting it.”

Doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets are available at the door or before the show online at, where you can also buy Season Passes and 7-film punch cards, learn more about the series, and view trailers for upcoming films. This is the final screening of season nine! The Doc Series will be back in October to kickoff season ten.