A new Netflix film that launched Thursday tells the unlikely faith-centric story of a cash-strapped Mexican orphanage that found new life when it entered a well-known fishing tournament – and won.
The movie, Blue Miracle (TV-PG), is based on the true story of Casa Hogar, an orphanage in Cabo San Lucas that faced possible closure in 2014 due to a backlog of unpaid bills but was spared when the orphanage entered the Bisbee's Black & Blue fishing tournament.
The film has several faith elements, on and off-screen. Papa Omar or Omar Venegas, the director of the Casa Hogar orphanage, is a man of faith. The movie's co-writer, Chris Dowling, has helped make several well-known faith-based films, including Run the Race and Priceless. Reach Records, the Christian label co-founded by Lecrae, produced the soundtrack. Reach recording artist Gawvi has a song (Fight for Me) featured in the film.
Blue Miracle also has multiple faith-centric themes, promoting fatherhood, second chances and forgiveness.
"It literally is the biggest underdog story I've ever heard," Dowling told Christian Headlines. "You've got a bunch of orphans who have never fished before. And they're going to go up against literally the best fisherman in the world – 900 of the best fishermen in the world. … It really is a remarkable story."
Jimmy Gonzales (Godzilla: King of the Monsters) stars as Omar, while Dennis Quaid (I Can Only Imagine) plays a has-been fisherman, Wade, who teaches Omar and the children the ropes of fishing.
Fatherhood is central to the plot. Omar, who lost his father at a young age, serves as a father figure to the boys in the orphanage. Meanwhile, Wade – an absentee dad – is inspired to become a better father by watching Omar's love in action.
"Fatherhood is an important part of society that sometimes is devalued," director and co-writer Julio Quintana told Christian Headlines. "And I think we would do better, as men, to step up to the plate more and make sure that we're there for the young people when they need us."
Quintana said the film deals with questions many parents ask: "What does it mean to be a good father? What does it mean to reconnect with the feeling of having lost connection with your own father in the past? And how do you move forward without having a father figure anymore, and now that burden has been fallen on [to you]? … How do you balance your professional aspirations with your responsibilities as a parent? And what are the tradeoffs?"
When Quintana made his first film, he said he thought the movie was "the most important thing that I could ever possibly do."
That perspective changed when he had children.
"And when I made my second film, I realized I had three other things that were just as important as what I was doing on set – frankly, more important," Quintana said.
Dowling said the movie illustrates "how important family is" and "what a blessing it is."
He hopes viewers ask themselves: What lengths would you go to save your family?
"That's a conversation anyone's gonna have after [the credits role] – race, creed, color, whatever," he said.
Photo courtesy: ©Netflix
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.