Top 5 Documentaries shot in Thailand

| 5 MIN READ |
Written by Patrick Harney @pharnney

Top Documentaries:
Soul of a Nation
96 Boxing Club
Railway Sleepers
Homogeneous Empty Time

Being one of the most fascinating countries in the world, Thailand’s popularity exceeds its expectations
in every way. Perhaps the best way to describe the country to any production house is that its colorful, cultured, chill and attractive everywhere, anywhere. But, there’s more to Thailand than just the city life in
Bangkok and sipping cocktails on the beach. Behind the curtain of luxury beach resorts and full moon
parties, are real people with traditions, customs, and amazing stories. Below we’ve listed five
documentaries that directors, producers and various production houses that offers audiences a taste of
Thailand and its extraordinary history and culture.


First on the list is the true adventure of thai singer named "Artiwara Kongmalai" from the band Bodyslam. This documentary film shows “Toon” dedicating himself to running from Betong, Yala district, South of Thailand to Mae sai, Chiang Rai, North of Thailand. Moreover, the foot journey is 2,215 kilometres which is also the title of the video production.
Toon actually runs for 55 days from the first november 2017 to the end of the year. Wherever his journey takes him he tries to collect money donated by Thailand’s people to put towards importing medical equipment needed in rural hospitals being the main purpose of his run of this long-running awareness campaign. It is undeniably an inspiring documentary about hard-work and selflessness.

Soul of a nation

This BBC documentary filmed around 1979 begins by showing the Thai royal family at the
traditional naming ceremony of King Bhumipol and Queen Sirikit’s latest grandchild. This excellent film
gives a lovely insight of the revered late king and the queen of Thailand. Furthermore, it gives emphasis on what they have done for their country. Not only by showcasing what the royal family’s achievements but it also gives us a rare opportunity to listen in on the beloved monarch speaking english fluently with BBC’s reporters.

96 Boxing club

In contrast to the royal family in the previous entry, this video production was produced by
UMOON. It focuses deeply on the country’s martial art form of muay thai; Thailand’s passion and
national sport. Throughout the film, we follow the hardships and fears of two muay thai fighters with dreams of becoming champions.
Ong-ard Padmanu (17) and Ekkachai Dangsuntad (20) of the 96 Boxing Club show themselves to the world explaining their obsession with muay thai and how much it has influenced their lives. Being taught discipline, honor and respect due to the challenges and hardships that accompanies the art.

Railway sleepers

Initially the symbol of modernity and progressiveness, trains in Thailand have frozen in time.
This film takes the audience on an endless two day journey, undoubtedly exposing the beauty in
observation. In addition we also get an intimate look into the lifestyle of passengers on the most popular mode of transportation. Railway Sleepers seems like it unfolds as a reflection of this changing country. But it serves as well as a fascinating illustration of the powerful economic and psychological role the railway system plays in Thai history.

Homogeneous Empty Time

Finally, this film from producer Walter Benjamin explores Thai people in a variety of communities. Throughout the film we see people such as high school students, religious persons, nationalist right-wingers, and career soldiers in an attempt to understand the foundation of the Thai nation. As a matter of fact, the film was shot during a time of heightened nationalism when the military regime and coup leaders came into power. Consequently, it was also a time of great risk as the junta held absolute power in the government. Controlling citizens by means of withholding and manipulating information, controlling people’s behavior and restricting rights.
The director of this film exposes the mental and psychological brainwashing on Thai people, as well as
widespread suppression and punishment of any anti-government voices enforced by the government
themselves. But the country was left with a great number of political prisoners as well as those who needed to flee in exile.

These were our top 5 documentaries. Above all, we hope this list will not only be enjoyable but help you learn more about Thailand.

If you want to know more about the film industry in Thailand then you must read our Film Industry in Thailand – A Producer’s Guide article.

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