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ReelEarth: A Muay Thai Pilgrimage

Posted on 5/28/2019 12:00:00 AM in What We're Watching

A note from independent filmmaker David Conover on why he chose this film:

Young New Yorker, Angela Chang, receives a tourist visa and buys plane tickets to Thailand. Filmmaker Mohammad Homouda meets her in Bangkok three years later as she prepares for a world championship. Angela is a fighter in an Asian fight tradition known as Muay Thai. She discovered her passion for fighting after taking a few kickboxing classes in college. Training and competing in Thailand is a rite of passage for foreign Muay Thai fighters like Angela, but living the "Muay Thai dream" can be very lonely.

We witness Angela alone in her apartment, writing in her journal. She video chats with her far-away little brother, getting some encouragement before her fight. Angela has sacrificed much for her love of this sport. But despite the distance from friends and family, she is still hungry to learn and keep fighting. She trains with her coach, who describes aspects of their relationship as “father-daughter.” Clearly, Angela possesses an incredible physical drive and mental strength—and she will need it for what lies ahead! She is fighting for a world title on National Muay Thai Day in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. The place has significance for Muay Thai fighters. According to Thai legend, the father of this form of fighting successfully fought his way out of Burmese captivity in Ayutthaya. Will Angela also have success fighting? What then? With a surprising twist, this ReelEarth film reveals a tenacity within Thailand’s beloved sport, embodied by natives and foreigners alike.

Produced by Mohammad Homouda

About David Conover:

David Conover, a long-term partner of O.A.T. and Grand Circle, is an award-winning filmmaker and conservationist whose work has appeared on Discovery Channel, PBS, and National Geographic Explorer. He is the founder of Compass Light Productions and the nonprofit Conservation Media Group, and was recently the Coastal Studies Scholar at Bowdoin College. Learn more about David here.

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