Nat Geo and Kevin Macdonald to Develop Documentary on Thai Cave Rescue

Film from director of “One Day in September” will feature interviews with British and Australian divers

Thailand Cave Rescue For "Wild Boars" Soccer Team
Photo by Linh Pham/Getty Images

National Geographic Documentary Films has greenlit a documentary on the Thai cave rescue, the 2018 rescue mission that saved a youth boys soccer team escape after being trapped inside for 18 days, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Kevin Macdonald, known for “The Last King of Scotland” and  “One Day in September,” a documentary about the terrorist attacks on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, is directing the feature documentary that includes exclusive interviews with British and Australian cave divers, and local Thai officials and volunteers who played a part in the rescue.

The documentary, which currently has a working title “Thai Cave Rescue,” is being produced by John Battsek and P.J. van Sandwijk along with executive producer Michael Lesslie.

The boys were rescued from Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiang Rai Province in Thailand. Twelve boys between the ages of 11 and 17 and their 25-year-old assistant coach were trapped in a cave after heavy rain waters had flooded their path out. Over 10,000 people and 100 divers worked over 18 days to attempt to rescue the boys, which resulted in one fatality, a former Thai Navy SEAL.

Divers Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, who were included in National Geographic’s 2019 list of its Adventurers of the Year, will be interviewed in the film along with Chris Jewell, Jason Mallinson, Connor Roe, Josh Bratchley and Jim Warny, in addition to interviews with Australian divers Dr. Richard Harris and Craig Challen.

The film originated with Storyteller Productions and its producers, van Sandwijk and Lesslie, who approached Macdonald after the news of the successful outcome of the rescue mission and subsequently secured the rights of the British divers. This film marks the second production between Storyteller Productions and Passion Pictures.

Nat Geo is behind the Oscar-winning documentary “Free Solo” about free solo rock climber Alex Honnold. They’ve also recently partnered with Leonardo DiCaprio on a climate change documentary and with Ron Howard on a documentary about the fires that ravaged Paradise, California.

Macdonald recently directed “Whitney,” about the life of singer Whitney Houston.

THR was first to report.