Celebrating The Life Of Sonny Miller

1960 - 2014

Legendary filmmaker, Sonny Miller was honored with a memorial paddle-out on Sunday, October 26th.

Read More on the Sonny Miller California Paddle Out Here

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Photos, Videos & Sonny Stories

San Diego Surf Film Festival will pay tribute cinematographer Sonny Miller May 21th

 THURSDAY MAY 26th 2016 Sonny Miller will be honored at the San Diego Surf Film Festival.  To DOWNLOAD the PDF CLICK HERE This year’s festival selections and events to feature global, sustainable themes San Diego Surf Film Festival When: May 21-23 Where: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s Sherwood Auditorium, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla Tickets: $5-$20 Pre-sales, lineup and more info:sandiegosurffilmfestival.com A scene from ‘Ocean Driven,’ an inspirational thriller based on the true story of South African big-wave surfer and ocean pioneer, Chris Bertish. The film screens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21 during the opening night of the fourth San Diego Surf Film Festival.Courtesy The organizers at San Diego Surf Film Festival (SDSFF) must be doing something right, as its audience continues to swell, year after year. Having outgrown its founding home at Bird’s Surf Shed, organizers of the fourth annual SDSFF have secured more spacious digs in La Jolla, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s (MCASD) Sherwood Auditorium. This year’s SDSFF, to be held Thursday, May 21 through Saturday, May 23, includes a diverse lineup of feature films, documentaries and short films (many of them U.S. and world premieres), as well as art demonstrations, an auction and a tribute to the late surf photographer and cinematographer, Sonny Miller, 7 p.m. May 21. Miller, who produced some of the most renowned surf films of the ’90s, including “Searching for Tom Curren,” passed away last summer at age 54. The San Diego Surf Film Festival will include an opening night tribute to the late surf cinematographer and Encinitas native Sonny Miller, who passed away last summer at...

Sonny Miller’s Lesson for Us All: ‘Nature Dictates’ by Helen Hunt

Written By Helen Hunt on Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-hunt/sonny-millers-lesson-for-us-all-nature-dictates_b_7180194.html The white of Sonny Miller’s right eye was red. Fire engine red. He cocked his head to the side all the time, in fact, his shoulders leaned also to the right, I think. Maybe it was from carrying that box around. That box that made my movie. Six years ago, I called him. “I’ve written a movie, it takes place in the water. I hear you’re the guy. Can I send it to you?” He called me a few weeks later. “Yeah, I like it, I like it. It really captures what it’s like, right?” I told him I didn’t have any money, but I was working on it, and that if I ever got the money the question I have is: How do you make an indie in the ocean? “Yeah, yeah, we can do it.” He talked about formats and boogie boards and Go Pros and jet skis. “At the end of the day, though, nature dictates.” He repeated that phrase again and again last summer: “Nature dictates.” I’d say, “I know Sonny, I know, but I’ve got to get this. If I don’t get her saying the line over her right shoulder before the wave comes, I don’t have the scene.” “Yeah. Yeah. Right shoulder. It’ll be good. Let’s go.” And out we’d walk. Out there. Once a day, he’d say: “You can talk about it so much, and then you gotta just get out there.” He carried this box, this box that paid for his house, and his motorcycles and his dying mom’s care, and his food and...

Local 600 Cinematographer Sonny Miller’s Legacy Washes Over the Industry in Waves of Talent and Respect.

Local 600 Cinematographer Sonny Miller’s Legacy Washes Over the Industry in Waves of Talent and Respect. By David William McDonald. All photos Courtesy of David William McDonald.Anyone who loves action cinematography – in the water, on concrete, or waist deep in snowy powder – already knows the legend that was Sonny Miller. Those who do not: I sincerely hope you will take the time to check out the provided Web links. They will help sustain the legacy of a union brother and true pioneer – a cinematic pirate of the seven seas who lived a life many only dream about.We have a saying in the camera department that is often repeated when things get very stressful: “Hey, we’re still livin’ the dream!” I can say, as an admirer, student, and close friend of Sonny’s, he was one Guild cinematographer who lived that dream 24/7. Sonny radiated love, aloha, respect, and a desire to capture beautiful and thought-provoking images that would (and will) last a lifetime. I’ll start at the beginning: Born Harold Miller in San Jose, California, on July 18, 1960, Sonny was given his nickname by his father, Bud, who remembers him as “the happiest baby” he’d ever seen. “Even as an infant,” Bud says, “Sonny was always calm, happy, smiling, cheerful. Some people are just born that way.” In 1975, deep inside the “Brady Bunch” era, Sonny’s family relocated to North County, San Diego, where he grew up steps from the beach. He joined a crew of local skateboarders known as the “Down South Boys,” essentially the San Diego version of Stacy Peralta’s Dogtown crew, who were raising hell...

Helen Hunt’s ‘Ride’ will be dedicated to Filmmaker Sonny Miller

Screen Media Films has closed a deal for North American distribution rights to Ride, the film Helen Hunt wrote, directed and produced, and stars in alongside Brenton Thwaites, Luke Wilson, and David Zayas. Pic is Hunt’s follow-up to her helming debut Then She Found Me. In this comedy, she plays an editor from The New Yorker who follows her son (Thwaites) to LA after he drops out of college to surf and find himself, but she ends up being the one thrust into a sea change of self-discovery. She befriends a limo driver (Zayas) and soon rediscovers her sexuality with a younger surf instructor (Wilson) and begins to heal her fractured relationship with her son and herself. Sandbar Pictures, Abandon Features, Big Block Ventures and @TheMovies Entertainment financed and UltraMedia is handling foreign sales. “I made this movie for mothers, sons, fathers, daughters, surfers and people who fall apart and come back together,” Hunt said. “Screen Media is the perfect place to get Ride to its audience.” Screen Media prexy Suzanne Blech said the film will be released is second-quarter 2015. “Professionally, the opportunity to work with Helen and her producing team was something we absolutely wanted to make happen after we first started tracking the film,” she said. “Personally, I intimately identified with the mother’s journey in Ride and hope audiences will associate with Helen’s vision as much as I did.” Hunt produced with Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder, Greg Little, and Moon Blauner, with Louise Runge, Samantha Housman, Matthew Carnahan, Robert Beaumont, Kevin Iwashina, Roxanne Fie Anderson, Elizabeth Stillwell, Bruce Bendell, Michael Paesano and Eric Alini exec producing....

Roxy In Memory: Sonny Miller with Lisa Andersen

In July 2014, ROXY lost a very dear friend: Sonny Miller. Traveling with the ROXY team for the past two decades, Sonny immortalized the key moments of our brand’s history on film. Beyond his groundbreaking camerawork from the water and from the air, Sonny acted an older brother for our surfers- motivating, protecting and cheering on the girls from the line-up.   The surf industry recently hosted a paddle out in memory of Sonny in Cardiff, California. We spoke to Lisa Andersen about her memories with Sonny, and caught a few waves in his honor. While we miss his ever-present smile, his unwavering optimism, his infectious laugh and of course his crazy costumes, we never forget to live just a little bit more ‘relaxo’ …just like Sonny always did.     Mahalo to Roxy for writing this beautiful article and putting the video together.  ...

Memorial Paddle Out Cardiff Photos by Jeff Shorsher

Photos of Event by Jeff Shorsher Jenny Carmel Laird Hamilton Hoffmann & Chris Friends & Family Anne Ed, Jeff, Jim & Tommy Bud Miller Brandon & Cody Stefan Robbie Rodriguez Brandon Bullard Josh Lisa Andersen Tom Curren Eb Lisa...

Sonny Miller Eulogy & Tribute Video by Ira Opper

SONNY MILLER MEMORIAL – 7.18.14 Sonny’s passing has left a huge hole in the surfing universe… and in my heart. My name is Ira Opper. I’m a sports television Producer. I first met Sonny in 1986 while surfing out at Pillbox…. he lived a few houses down from me in Solana Beach. At the time, I was producing the Surfer Magazine TV series for ESPN. I’d seen Sonny’s photos published in Surfer Magazine and was impressed with his innovative use of flash fill lighting in water photography. Here was this quirky 26-year old kid oozing with talent and personality living down the street and I knew an interview with him would make an entertaining segment for the show. I asked – he agreed and we shot the interview him on the beach at Pillbox. I was immediately drawn to his wacky style, big voice, exuberant personality, and passion for photography. We became fast friends. We surfed, hung out, and of course laughed. ESPN had just gone global and they wanted another season of Surfer TV for their “Hot Summer Nights” prime time programming block. When I started casting for a host, my funny talented friend Sonny was on the short list. He had the quintessential California surfer look, the attitude, and that rock star voice. Everyone at Surfer Magazine loved the guy and thought he was the perfect choice. Not certain he wanted to be a “talking head ” Sonny reluctantly took the job as host. I was stoked and knew he would rise to the occasion. With Sonny on board we now had a great photographer and a...

Tom Curren Reacts to his Perfect 10 On Sonny’s Birthday : J-Bay ASP World Tour

“I love J-Bay, the waves are brilliant and the people are wonderful,” said Tom Curren. “It’s so great to watch all the guys compete here in such fantastic conditions. I got a little carried away during that ten-point ride, the waves were so good. It’s Sonny Miller’s birthday today so I just want to dedicate this to him.”    ...

In Requiem for the Surf Rider Sonny Miller by Josh Gilliland

My cousin Sonny Miller passed away after a heart attack on July 8, 2014. He died six days after his mother died from Dementia. He was one of the most dynamic individuals I have ever known. Sonny traveled the world making surfing movies. His resume included a long list of surfing classics, including Riding Giants, Searching for Tom Curren, and the James Bond movieDie Another Day. He was also the announcer at the end of Blue Crush. His Instagram photos were always of great adventures across the globe. My cousin was an amazing photographer. Sonny had worldwide success because he was one of the best photographers on the planet. Part of my love of photography was inspired heavily from him when I was a child. I would touch base with him and find out he was doing something awesome, like going to Hawaii with the Roxy Girls. That certainly made me re-think my career choices. Sonny’s company was World Wave Pictures, which made me think: What is the legal definition of a wave? According to case law, “A wave is a naturally occurring phenomenon of the ocean — not a man-made object such as the floating poles, logs, and pilings… A wave may be a dangerous condition of the ocean, but, by its very nature, cannot be an unnatural condition.” Birmingham v. Fodor’s Travel Publications, 73 Haw. 359, 379-380 (Haw. 1992). Death is like a wave. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon. That does not take away the the fact it can knock someone off their feet. Sonny was a man of adventure, talent, and great compassion. He dutifully took care of his mother for seven years in...

SONNY MILLER PIONEERING SNOWBOARD PHOTOGRAPHER by Snow Boarder Magazine

R.I.P. SONNY MILLER, 1960-2014 Sonny Miller, one of the pioneering snowboard photographers who heavily supported SNOWBOARDER in its infancy has passed away from a heart attack. Sonny’s image of a wetsuit-clad Damian Sanders was the shot that SNOWBOARDER used on the cover of our debut issue twenty-eight years ago. Our thoughts go out to Sonny Miller’s family and friends and SNOWBOARDER will forever be grateful for what he did to steer the course of our magazine and...