VIDEO: First film about Thai cave rescue to premiere this weekend

“The Cave” is set to debut at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea

In this Sept. 16, 2019, photo, “The Cave” movie director Tom Waller gestures during an interview with The Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Their story gripped the world: determined divers racing against time and water to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for more than two weeks in a flooded cave deep inside a northern Thai mountain.

The ordeal in late June and early July 2018 had barely ended when filmmakers began their own race to get the nail-biting drama onto cinema screens. The first of those projects will premiere this weekend, when director Tom Waller’s “The Cave” shows 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-born, British-raised filmmaker said the epic tale of the Wild Boars football team was a story he simply had to tell.

The boys and their coach entered the Tham Luang cave complex after soccer practice and were quickly trapped inside by rising floodwater. Despite a massive search, the boys spent nine nights lost in the cave before they were spotted by an expert diver. It would take another eight days before they were all safe.

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

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,” he said.

But putting the parts together after their dramatic rescue proved to be a challenge. Thailand’s government, at the time led by a military junta, became very protective of the story, barring unauthorized access to the Wild Boars 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,” Waller said. “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,” he said. “That was really very emotional for some of them because it was absolutely real.”

READ MORE: B.C. hometown lauds cave diver for role in Thai rescue

“The Cave” goes on general release in Thailand on Nov. 28.

Tassanee Vejpongsa And Jerry Harmer, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

In this undated photo released by Royal Thai Navy on Saturday, July 7, 2018, Thai rescue teams arrange water pumping system at the entrance to a flooded cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. (Royal Thai Navy via AP)

In this undated photo released by Royal Thai Navy on Saturday, July 7, 2018, Thai rescue teams arrange water pumping system at the entrance to a flooded cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. (Royal Thai Navy via AP)

Just Posted

Alberta’s new sport fishing regulations include more harvesting opportunities

The 2020 regulations feature more opportunities for recreational fishing and online licences

Sylvan Lake photographer captures family life from the front steps

Deb McNeil is taking porch portraits to share the uniqueness of families during COVID-19

TC Energy enlists Alberta to help finish US$8-billion Keystone XL project

Alberta government has agreed toinvest about US$1.1 billion (C$1.5 billion) as equity in the project

Sylvan Lake’s Flags of Remembrance ceremonies cancelled due to pandemic

The flags will fly along the lake and Highway 11 under the name “Flags of Unity”, Sept. 12-Nov. 12

A message from the publisher

Consider a voluntary subscription to Sylvan Lake News

UPDATE: Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

US death toll eclipses China’s as reinforcements head to NYC

New York was the deadliest hot spot in the U.S.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

101 deaths COVID-19 deaths so far

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

Alberta’s energy war room to spend only on ‘subsistence operations’ due to COVID-19

Alberta’s energy war room to spend only on ‘subsistence operations’ due to COVID-19

Most Read