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Netflix Announces Deal for Film about Thailand's Cave Boys


FILE - Coach Ekkapol Janthawong, left, and the 12 boys show their respect and thanks as they hold a portrait of Saman Gunan, the retired Thai SEAL diver who died during their rescue attempt, during a press conference in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, Wednesday, July 18, 2018.
Netflix Announces Deal for Film about Thailand's Cave Boys
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Two companies have announced plans to make a film about the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave last year.

The team was trapped underground in northern Thailand for more than two weeks.

The American video streaming service Netflix is joining with SK Global Entertainment to create the film. They made the announcement Tuesday in Bangkok.

SK Global is the production company that produced the movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” It and Netflix received the rights to the cave rescue story from 13 Tham Luang Company Limited. The Thai government helped establish 13 Tham Luang to represent the interests of the boys and their coach.

Thailand's Culture Ministry first announced the film deal as a television miniseries in March. A government official said at the time that the families of the cave survivors would each be paid about $94,000.

The boys of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach had planned to explore the Tham Luang cave area after a practice event on June 23, 2018. But rainwater flooded the passageways, trapping them inside. It was not known at the time if they were able to find shelter from rising flood waters that poured in after unexpected rainfall.

On July 2, two British divers found the boys and their coach. An international team of experienced cave divers rescued the group. The divers joined with Thai navy divers in a complex and dangerous operation that ended successfully on July 10.

Trapped Thai soccer players in Tham Luang cave
Trapped Thai soccer players in Tham Luang cave

Ekapol Chanthawong was the team’s assistant coach, who was among those trapped underground. He told reporters, “We are grateful for the opportunity to thank the people and organizations from Thailand and around the world who came together to perform a true miracle, by retelling our story. We look forward to working with all involved parties to ensure our story is told accurately, so that the world can recognize, once again, the heroes that made the rescue operation a success.''

13 Tham Luang plans to donate 15% of the money earned from the film to organizations that provide aid to victims of disasters.

The film will have two directors: Jon M. Chu, who directed Crazy Rich Asians, and Thai filmmaker Nattawut Poonpiriya.

Erika North is director of International Originals at Netflix. She said in a statement, “We are immensely proud to be able to support the retelling of the incredible story of the Tham Luang cave rescue.”

The rescue was a rare example of a feel-good news story from Thailand. The nation has experienced political conflict and military rule for more than 10 years. The cave rescue also enabled the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to share some of the credit.

An independent film about the rescue attempt, called “The Cave,” was made soon after the team was saved. It is supposed to be released later this year.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

The Associated Press reported this story. Jonathan Evans adapted the story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

cave – n. a large hole that was formed by natural processes in the side of a cliff or hill or under the ground

coach – n. a person who teaches and trains an athlete or performer

grateful – adj. appreciative of benefits received

miracle – n. an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God; a very amazing or unusual event, thing, or achievement

opportunity – n. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done

proud – adj. very happy and pleased because of something you have done, something you own, someone you know or are related to, etc.; feeling pride

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