'Cave Rescue' looks at the dramatic story of a trapped Thai soccer team - Albuquerque Journal

‘Cave Rescue’ looks at the dramatic story of a trapped Thai soccer team

Director Tom Waller, center, films inside the cave in Thailand for his film, “Cave Rescue.” (Courtesy of Lionsgate)

Like many around the world, Tom Waller was glued to his TV when a soccer team and their coach were trapped deep inside a cave in northern Thailand in 2018.

The event gave the filmmaker the content for his next film.

Four years later, Waller has released “Cave Rescue,” which is currently available for rent or purchase on digital platforms.

“If I was the father of one of these kids, I would have gone crazy,” he says. “The worry that set in just as a viewer was enough for me to want to do something. Making the film was an emotional experience. I was born in Thailand and my mother is from the area where the boys were.”

Waller says in many ways, the script wrote itself.

But he wanted to dive into the stories of the volunteers who pitched in and put their life at risk to save the team and their coach.

Waller and team worked with a wide variety of participants – cave divers, diplomats, rescue foundation workers, volunteers, the police, local farmers and villagers – to ensure the details of the story were completely accurate. Many were later recruited to play themselves or to personally advise the actors who played them.

A scene from the film, “Cave Rescue,” shows the youth soccer team getting rescued from a cave in Thailand. (Courtesy of Lionsgate )

Since the writers were either from Thailand or had spent many years living there, they could bring to the script a deep understanding of the uniquely Thai subtext of the story as opposed to the perspective of outside observers.

Waller says after exhaustive research and interviews with diverse characters from Mae Bua (the rice farmer who lost everything as waters released from the cave flooded her fields) to Jim Warny (the diver whom Tom met and interviewed in Ireland and dropped everything to make a grueling journey from Shannon Airport to Chiang Rai airport, then immediately suiting up and entering the cave with no sleep) to Pooyai Tun (a pump manufacturer from an area of Thailand far away from the cave, whose sheer perseverance may have ultimately been the difference between life and death).

“We were trying to make this film without anyone knowing,” he says. “What’s great about the film is that there are actual volunteers who helped in the recovery back in 2018 that wanted to help with the film. It’s as story of humanity coming together to help. I want people who watch the film to take that from it. It’s a story of perseverance through it all and not losing hope.”

Home » Entertainment » ‘Cave Rescue’ looks at the dramatic story of a trapped Thai soccer team


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
'Drag Race' star steps into Edna Turnbald's shoes in ...
Entertainment
'Hairspray' will begin its six-performance stand ... 'Hairspray' will begin its six-performance stand at Popejoy Hall beginning on Thursday, Oct. 6.
2
Festival poster artist Amado Peña's work an homage to ...
Arts
Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival: ... Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival: Balloon Fiesta Show runs from Thursday, Sept. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 2, and Oct. 6-9.
3
'Mystery Road: Origin' catches up with Jay Swan in ...
Entertainment
'Mystery Road: Origin' airs a new ... 'Mystery Road: Origin' airs a new episode each Monday through Oct. 10, on Acorn TV.
4
Singer-songwriter Jimmy Climbs is bringing 'neon rock' to Albuquerque's ...
Entertainment
Singer-songwriter to drop debut album next ... Singer-songwriter to drop debut album next week; release party is Saturday, Oct. 1 at Insideout
5
James McMurtry bringing tour to the Lobo Theater
Entertainment
James McMurtry will bring his latest ... James McMurtry will bring his latest tour to Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Lobo Theater in Nob Hill.
6
SFiFF announces the first 15 featured titles for the ...
Blogs
The 14th edition of the Santa ... The 14th edition of the Santa Fe International Film Festival takes place Oct. 19-23, in Santa Fe.
7
Actor Timothy Granaderos drawn to psychological thriller's complexity, story
Entertainment
'Devil's Workshop,' starring Radha Mitchell, Timothy ... 'Devil's Workshop,' starring Radha Mitchell, Timothy Granaderos and Emile Hirsch, opens in theaters and on demand on Friday, Sept. 30.
8
Songwriter gigi finds a place for comfort with music, ...
Entertainment
Gigi finds herself in the opening ... Gigi finds herself in the opening slot for Cyrus' tour, which makes a stop in Albuquerque at the El Rey Theater at 8 p.m. ...
9
Shinedown brings honesty, revelation with 'Planet Zero' when society ...
Entertainment
Group to perform at Isleta Pavilion ... Group to perform at Isleta Pavilion on Oct. 5
10
Albuquerque Grecian Festival offers a taste of culture
Entertainment
Event runs Sept. 30 through Oct. ... Event runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 at the Saint George Greek Orthodox Church