First Thai cave rescue movie promises thrills at Busan premiere

This photo taken on October 1, 2019 shows "The Cave" film director Tom Waller speaking during an interview in Bangkok. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 October 2019

First Thai cave rescue movie promises thrills at Busan premiere

  • Waller’s challenge was to recreate the conditions of the dank, dark environment that made the rescue of the “Wild Boars” so harrowing and unprecedented

BANGKOK: From flooded passages lit by headlamps to urgent voices echoing off cramped walls, the director of “The Cave” — the first big-screen retelling of Thai rescue operation — promises to capture the peril of the mission when it premieres at Busan International Film Festival.

“No one is going to say, ‘Oh that looks like a set’,” Thai-Irish filmmaker Tom Waller told AFP ahead of the Saturday debut at Asia’s biggest film festival in South Korea.

“Those who suffer from claustrophobia, there should be a warning... (you) might get a little bit anxious,” he joked.

The 2018 mission to extract 12 young Thai footballers and their coach — known as the “Wild Boars” — from Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand captivated people around the world.

After wandering into the complex during the rainy season, the team were trapped by floodwaters for 18 days before they were sedated, fitted with masks, and dragged to freedom through kilometers (miles) of narrow passageways.

Waller’s challenge: to recreate the conditions of the dank, dark environment that made the rescue of the “Wild Boars” so harrowing and unprecedented.

To do so he filmed in similar caves around Thailand and employed four of the rescue divers to star as themselves.

“We had to deal with snakes, huge spiders,” Waller said. The movie is hitting theaters ahead of bigger and better-financed projects, and he hopes the festival will give the independent film the profile it needs to go truly global.

“Us being shown at Busan first, it’s playing the film on a world stage,” Waller said, adding that it will debut in Thailand in November after a festival tour.

Appetite for the incredible tale remains strong more than one year after the operation as companies pump out books, shows, and documentaries.

In the pipeline is a Netflix production from the producers of “Crazy Rich Asians” for which the rescued footballers were reportedly paid $100,000 each.
National Geographic is stepping into the competition with a documentary by the team behind the Oscar-winning film “Free Solo.”

But Waller’s film will have the advantage of being first to screen, and is taking a cinema verite approach. Four divers from Canada, China, Finland, and Belgium are acting in it under their real names, as is an American journalist who covered the saga.

Ireland-based Belgian diver Jim Warny, who helped pull the team’s coach out, said he had a flashback when they recreated the scene. And he wants the film to inspires others to dream big.

“I was afraid in the cave, I’m always afraid when I go cave diving,” he said. “I see it as a duty to show people that they can do amazing stuff against the odds.”


Environmentally conscious Coldplay says it won’t tour new album, ahead of Jordan gigs

Updated 21 November 2019

Environmentally conscious Coldplay says it won’t tour new album, ahead of Jordan gigs

  • Chris Martin: We’re not touring this album. We’re taking time over the next year or two to work out how our tour (can not only) be sustainable but how can it be actively beneficial
  • Coldplay will perform two shows in Jordan on Friday to mark the album Everyday Life’s release

LONDON: British band Coldplay will not tour to promote their new album, but are working on how to make their gigs environmentally sustainable, lead singer Chris Martin said.
The rock group, known for songs like “Yellow,” “Paradise” and “Viva la Vida,” will release their eighth studio album “Everyday Life” on Friday. The 52-minute record is made up of two halves, “Sunrise” and “Sunset.”
“We’re not touring this album. We’re taking time over the next year or two to work out how our tour (can not only) be sustainable but how can it be actively beneficial,” Martin told British broadcaster BBC in Jordan, where Coldplay will perform two shows on Friday to mark the album’s release.
“Our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it be largely solar-powered.”
Coldplay will play a one-off show at London’s Natural History Museum on Monday to promote the album. All performance proceeds will go to environmental charity ClientEarth.
“This is expected to be the band’s only UK show of the ‘Everyday Life’ era,” a press release for the show said.
Coldplay last toured globally in 2016-2017 to promote album “A Head Full of Dreams.”
“All of us, in every industry, have to just work out what the best way of doing our job is ... The hardest thing is the flying side of things,” Martin said.
Amid growing environmental concerns from consumers and young fans, several music artists have addressed climate change in lyrics or announced plans to improve their green credentials.
Rockers The 1975 teamed up with climate activist Greta Thunberg for a track on their upcoming album in which the teenage Swedish activist warns about climate change.
“It is fantastic to see world famous artists stepping up to protect the planet,” Gareth Redmond-King, head of Climate Change at the WWF conservation group, said in a statement.
“We all have a responsibility to lead by example in the face of this climate and nature crisis — inaction is not an option if we are to preserve our planet for future generations.”

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