Top 5 Documentaries shot in Thailand
| 5 MIN READ |
Written by Patrick Harney | @pharnney
Soul of a Nation
96 Boxing Club
Homogeneous Empty Time
Being one of the most fascinating countries in the world, Thailand’s popularity exceeds its expectations
in every way. The best way to describe the country to any production house is colorful, cultured, chilled
and attractive everywhere, anywhere. But, there’s more to Thailand than just the suburban 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 gift audiences with a taste of
Thailand and its extraordinary history and culture.
Based on a true story of thai singer named "Artiwara Kongmalai", this production house shows “Toon”
dedicating himself to running from Betong, Yala district, South of Thailand to Mae sai, Chiang Rai, North
of Thailand. The journey is 2,215 kilometres which is also the title of the video production, Toon runs
for 55 days from the first november 2017 to the end of the year. As his journey takes him he tries to
collect money devoted by Thailand’s people as much as possible to put toward importing medical
equipment needed in hospitals being the main purpose of this long-running event of awareness.
Soul of a nation
This BBC documentary filmed around the time of 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 adored king and queen of Thailand and what they have done for their
country. Not only showcasing what the royal family’s achievements but also gives the rare opportunity
of the beloved monarchs speaking english fluently with BBC’s reporters.
96 Boxing club
Showcasing the royal family of Thailand in the previous paragraph this video production produced by
UMOON themselves focuses deeper about the country’s art form of muay thai; Thailand’s passion and
national sport. This film follows the hardships and fears of two muay thai fighters with dreams of
becoming champions. Ong-ard Padmanu (17) and Ekkachai Dangsuntad (20) of 96 Boxing Club show
themselves to the world explaining their obsession of muay thai and how much it has influenced their
lives, teaching them discipline, honor and respect.
Initially being the symbol of modernity and progressiveness, trains in Thailand has been frozen in time.
This film takes the audience on an endless 2 day journey from North to South, exposing the beauty of
observation and lifestyle of passengers on the most popular modes of transportation. Railway Sleepers
unfolds a reflection of this changing country as well as a fascinating illustration of the powerful
economic and psychological role the railway system plays in Thai history.
Homogeneous Empty Time
This film from producer Walter Benjamin explores Thai people in a variety of communities, such as high
school students, religious persons, nationalistic right-wingers, and military soldiers in an attempt to find
out what is the foundation of this Thai nation is formed upon. The film was shot during a time of
nationalism when the military regime and coup leaders came into power. With 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. The result of this left the country with a great number of political prisoners as well as those
who needed to flee in exile.
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.