By David Latona / Bangkok / The makers of the first feature film about the Thai youth soccer team whose miraculous rescue last year from a cave left the world holding its collective breath for weeks presented the movie in Bangkok on Tuesday ahead of its worldwide premiere.
During a panel held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, the writer and director of “The Cave,” Tom Waller, gave an overview of the challenging production process involved in recreating the dramatic operation to extricate the boys and their coach from the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave.
“The Cave focuses on the unsung heroes,” Waller said. “It is a big reminder of what happened, a celebration of that rescue mission and its success.”
The Irish-Thai filmmaker explained that the Thai government prevented the crew from having any access to the boys and their coach, which compelled him to highlight the story’s other protagonists such as the fearless divers who volunteered for the high-stakes mission.
The event, moderated by the BBC’s longtime Bangkok correspondent Jonathan Head, also saw the participation of Belgian-born diver Jim Warny, who took an active part in the rescue operation and plays himself in the film.
Warny, an aircraft electrician by trade with a passion for underwater cave exploration, said it was very hard to get a picture of the cave’s interior as the muddied waters provided virtually no visibility. “But we overcame the fears and challenges against all odds.”
The experienced diver was at his home in Ireland when international media began picking up the story. He felt the urge to volunteer for the mission in a country he had never even considered visiting when he heard news of the death of Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL who ran out of oxygen on July 6 as he was returning from delivering air supplies to the boys.
According to Warny, the psychological factor of knowing that the lives of children slightly older than his own son were at stake pushed him into traveling over 6,000 miles to join the rescue efforts.
Though he was at first assigned extra support functions, he ended up playing an integral role in the operation when he was tasked with administering a ketamine injection to one of the boys – despite a complete lack of medical training – and extracting the team’s 25-year-old assistant coach, Ekapol Chanthawong.
Waller quipped that it was ironic that the man who rescued Ekapol was never allowed to personally meet the latter while conscious, as the government’s restrictions impeded any contact with the survivors.
The director said that several locals from the area reprised their roles – including a couple of Muslim cooks who prepared meals for the thousands gathered at the mouth of the cave – which lent an oomph of realism and accuracy to a film made with painstaking attention to detail.
“There were a lot of people on set saying ‘it wasn’t like this, it was like that’ and giving us advice, helping us to make it look real,” Waller said. “And no better man to do that than Jim Warny, who actually was in the cave with the kids.”
Waller said that making the movie, which features a sprawling ensemble cast, took a lot longer than expected because of the difficulties in getting permission from authorities to film at the actual cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai. Most scenes were instead shot at similar-looking caverns in other locations, though the crew was eventually allowed to film at the real cave’s entrance for a single day after months of struggle.
Attendees at the FCCT event were the first to be regaled with a sneak preview of the movie’s trailer, as well as a few short clips, before it premieres on Saturday at South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival.
The odyssey portrayed in The Cave began on June 23 of last year, when the 12 kids (aged between 11-16) from a local soccer team known as the Wild Boars entered Tham Luang Nan Nong along with their young assistant coach.
Suddenly, heavy monsoon rains partially flooded the cave, leaving them trapped inside.
As days passed following their disappearance, the public started to fear for their lives.
However, the huge rescue effort that involved more than 10,000 people in total and lasted over a fortnight managed to locate and bring them to safety. It was a resounding – and improbable – success despite the tragic loss of Saman.
The operation was broadcast by media all around the globe, leading the Wild Boars to become national heroes.
Their ordeal deeply moved the Southeast Asian country: while the boys remained trapped, solidarity poured in from all corners, including several gurus and monks who attempted to locate them telepathically.
Under Ekapol’s guidance, the boys remained calm by practicing meditation, which also helped save energy – an important factor that contributed to their survival amid the cave’s cold and humid conditions.
After being located by two British divers a week earlier, the kids and the coach – who did not know how to swim – were sedated and brought out of the cave by specialized diving teams wading through the dangerous 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) underwater route between July 8-10.
Millions rejoiced when they saw the dazed survivors hold a press conference just a week after their nightmare had come to an end.
The Cave is scheduled for a Nov. 28 release in Thailand. (October 1, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)
News related in video (2018):
Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas (Read the news and answer the questions)
de una película que está basada en un rescate que ocurrió en la vida real.
principalmente del rescate de unos niños en Tailandia.
de todas las películas que podrán verse en Netflix.
el rescate duró un par de días.
rescataron a una docena de niños y a un adulto que estaban atrapados en una cueva.
el rescate de esos niños tuvo lugar este año.
Waller indicó que no hubo ningún problema para rodar la película.
Waller señaló que tiene muchos detalles para que sea lo más fiel posible a la realidad.
se rodó en la cueva donde se rescató a los niños para que todo sea más realista.
esta película acaba de estrenarse en un festival de cine.
personas de otros países participaron en ese rescate.
Waller apenas pone el foco en el trabajo de los buzos en esta película.
algunos de los niños rescatados recibieron la ciudadanía tailandesa.
las autoridades rechazan que se hagan películas sobre lo ocurrido.
los niños rescatados no tienen cuentas en las redes sociales.
estar de paso.
ocurrir, pasar algo.
ser diferente a algo.
parecerse a algo.
una forma del presente del subjuntivo del verbo filmar.
una serie de televisión.
lo mismo que 'película'.
al no enumerar algo.
al no tener algo.
al no poner las cosas en orden.
a algo que no genera confusión.
a algo que es claro y evidente.
a un laberinto.
permanecer en el mismo lugar.
introducirse en el interior de un lugar.
salir de un lugar.
Review grammar notes: to express purpose with 'para' and 'para que' + subjunctive, relative clauses, 100 verbs to speak Spanish