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Chiang Rai

Netflix and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ production team announce cave rescue project

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Netflix and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ production team announce cave rescue project | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Yahoo.com

Netflix, the most popular TV streaming service in Thailand, are teaming up with the producers of the hit film “Crazy Rich Asians” for a production about the rescue of the MuPa (Wild Boar) football team from Chiang Rai’s Tham Luang caves last July.

The 12 young men and their coach were trapped in a flooded cave after going on a short after-football-training excursion.

Their dramatic 18 day rescue became huge global news and ended up as a massive international co-operative effort with expertise flying in from around the world to, firstly find the boys, then figure out a way to get them out. The waters were rising, there was a threat of more rains to come, the boys couldn’t swim – the problems seemed insurmountable.

But, eventually, a risky plan was hatched, and executed. All with a happy ending, perfect for a film or drama.

A lucrative mini-industry in retelling their story has grown, with local and international film companies and publishing houses vying for the opportunity to have access to the team and the caves as a filming location.

Coach Ekkapol Chantawong, the 25 year old who was also stuck in the caves with his 12 young football team members, is president of “13 Thumluang Company”, acting as an intermediary between the production companies, the other young team members and their families.

No financial details were offered at today’s media launch although earlier reports suggested the young men would score a tidy sum from the production. A representative from the Army, a former Government spokesperson, who is acting as an advisor the 13 Thumluang Company, said that the team planned to give 20% of any earnings to charity as the team members recognised they had been helped and assisted by so many people.

The Netflix project, which may be a doco-film or a mini-series, will include the real team members to partly tell the story, largely untold, of their fears as they waited inside the cave.

The director of “Crazy Rich Asians” Jon Chu will also join the project as co-director, along with a Thai director Nattawut Poonpiriya, whose 2017 heist thriller “Bad Genius” earned critical acclaim.

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Chiang Rai

Journey back to Tham Luang in ‘The Cave’ – VIDEO

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Journey back to Tham Luang in ‘The Cave’ – VIDEO | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Tom Waller on site during the filming of The Cave – AFP

Determined divers racing against time. Rising waters threatening lives. 12 teenagers and their soccer coach trapped inside for two weeks. A remote cave that most had never heard of.

The stuff of a Hollywood drama, except that it’s all true and happened in Chiang Rai last year. Now the first of several re-tellings of the story comes to the big screen in The Cave.

The ordeal in late June and early July last year had barely ended when filmmakers began their own race to get the nail-biting drama onto cinema screens. The first of those projects premiered at the start of October, when director Tom Waller’s The Cave showed at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea.

The film was shot over three months earlier this year and has been in post-production since then. The 45 year old Thai-British filmmaker says the epic tale of the Wild Boars (Mu Pa) football team was a story he simply had to tell.

“I took the view that this was going to be a story about the people we didn’t know about, about the cave divers who came all the way from across the planet.”

The 13 young men entered the Tham Luang cave complex after soccer practice and were quickly trapped inside by rising floodwater. The boys were forced to spend nine nights lost in the cave, whilst Navy Seal and other diver searched frantically, before they were spotted by a British diver.

It would take another eight days before they were all safe, against all odds, in a risky mission.

Waller was visiting his father in Ireland when he saw television news accounts of the drama.

“I thought this would be an amazing story to tell on screen.”

But putting the parts together after their dramatic rescue proved to be a challenge. Thailand’s government, led by the military NCPO, became very protective of the story, barring unauthorised access to the Mu Pa team or their parents. Waller often feared his production might be shut down.

His good fortune was that the events at the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province had multiple angles and interesting characters. Especially compelling were the stories of the rescuers, particularly the expert divers who rallied from around the world. He decided to make a film “about the volunteer spirit of the rescue.”

Other people proposed telling the story from the point of view of the boys, and Netflix nailed down those rights in a deal brokered by the Thai government.

“I took the view that this was going to be a story about the people we didn’t know about, about the cave divers who came all the way from across the planet. They literally dropped everything to go and help, and I just felt that that was more of an exciting story to tell, to find out how these boys were brought out and what they did to get them out.”

Waller even had more than a dozen key rescue personnel play themselves.

Waller said they were natural actors, blending in almost seamlessly with the professionals around them, and helped by the accuracy of the settings and the production’s close attention to detail.

“What you are really doing is asking them to remember what they did and to show us what they were doing and what they were feeling like at the time. That was really very emotional for some of them because it was absolutely real.”

Waller says his film is likely to have a visceral effect on some viewers, evoking a measure of claustrophobia.

“It’s a sort of immersive experience with the sound of the environment, you know, the fact that is very dark and murky, that the water is not clear.”

“In Hollywood films, when they do underwater scenes, everything is crystal clear. But in this film it’s murky and I think that’s the big difference. This film lends itself to being more of a realistic portrayal of what happened.”

Some scenes were filmed on location at the entrance to the actual Tham Luang cave, but most of the action was shot elsewhere.

“We filmed in real water caves that were flooded, all year-round. It is very authentic in terms of real caves, real flooded tunnels, real divers and real creepy-crawlies in there. So it was no mean feat trying to get a crew to go and film in these caves.”

The Cave goes on general release in Thailand on November 28.

ORIGINAL ARTICE: Associated Press | Time.com

Journey back to Tham Luang in 'The Cave' - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Tom Waller – Associated Press/Sakchai Lalit

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Air Pollution

Less monitoring, more enforcement – Prawit warns northern officials

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Less monitoring, more enforcement – Prawit warns northern officials | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Thaiger

Thai Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa were in Chiang Mai yesterday to give provincial governors and state agency officials a ‘heads up’ in preparation for another looming season of forest fires and haze.

The North suffers perennial choking smog from approximately February to April, and Prawit passed on a message from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha who, he said, was fretting over the impact on people’s health.

He said the Environment Ministry would take the lead in coordinating with neighbouring countries and related local authorities to monitor the fire problem both in and outside Thailand.

The fires are lit in northern Thailand, and over the border in Myanmar, as burn-offs to prepare for the next year’s crops. Last year’s choking smoke haze was headline news for months.

SOURCE: The Nation

Less monitoring, more enforcement - Prawit warns northern officials | News by The Thaiger

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Chiang Rai

Thai police officer arrested with nearly 200,000 meth pills in his luggage

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Thai police officer arrested with nearly 200,000 meth pills in his luggage | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

A serving policeman has been arrested by police in Chiang Rai province after 198,000 methamphetamine pills were found in his luggage on a Bangkok-bound bus.

Mae Sai district policemen at a checkpoint in Tambon Pong-Ngam, stopped a Nakhonchai Tour bus bound for Bangkok from Mae Sai, for a routine check. The officers found a locked suitcase on the luggage rack above the front seat, occupied by Pol Lt-Col Surachit Thavuth, and asked him to open the bag for inspection.

Pol Lt-Col Surachit Thavuth is a police investigative inspector in Uthai Thani in central Thailand.

Surachit managed to run out of the bus and hid in the roadside bushes, but was eventually apprehended and brought back to the bus to unlock the bag, where the methamphetamine pills were found.

Surachit told the police he went to Mae Sai to take delivery of the drugs for transport to a drug dealer, whom he identified as ‘Oak’, in Bangkok in return for 100,000 baht. Following his arrest, Thai PBS reports that Surachit was temporarily suspended from duty and a disciplinary committee has been set up to deal with the matter.

Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman Pol Col Krisana Pattanacharoen said the national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda ordered the investigation to be expanded to find the mastermind behind the drug deal.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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