Thriller drama film “Doi Boy” which originally screened to a sold-out theater at the 28th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) this past October, is finally ready to stream on Netflix, on Nov 24, 2pm (Bangkok Time).
The film follows Sorn (Awat “Ud” Ratanapintha), a young man who illegally emigrated to Thailand. Unable to get legal work, he ends up in the sex trade working at a gay bar in Chiang Mai. The pandemic eventually kills the bar’s operations, forcing Sorn to find other ways to make money. To make ends meet, he takes up a job proposed by one of his regulars, Ji (Arak “Pae '' Amornsupasiri)—a mission which entails the disappearance of political activist Wuth (Aelm Thavornsiri).
Photo: Doi Boy cast and crew at BIFF / Netflix
“It felt like being 14 again,” said director Nontawat “Ble” Numbenchapol,  expressing his excitement about directing his first non-fiction work. Previously, the director was lauded for his documentary films set around the borders of Thailand. 
After wrapping up his docu-feature “Boundary” (2013)—premiered at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival—Ble felt an itch to further explore these marginalized communities, starting with Chiang Mai.
“I’ve frequented this province so many times but I’ve never noticed the Shans [an ethnic tribe in Northern Thailand]” Ble elaborated.
Through his research, the filmmaker also discovered that regardless of their sexuality, one of the most common occupations for the Shan men to do is sex work in a gay bar. 
“To them, this is like an office job, they don’t enjoy it but it’s how they are able to make a living,” he said. 
Ble decided to split the project into two parts. The non-fiction piece “Soil Without Land” was released earlier in 2019. While the fictional exploration and partnership with Netflix resulted in Doi Boy.
Photo: Doi Boy stills / Netflix
On the challenges of accepting this role, lead actor Ud told BK “We only had a month and a half to prepare.” This includes getting into character, trying to grasp the realities of an immigrant sex worker in Thailand, and training to speak in a Shan dialect.
Doi Boy also earned Ud the “Rising Star Award” from Marie Claire during BIFF Asia Star Awards 2023.
Ud also hopes the audience walks away from the film with a more humanized outlook towards the real-life counterparts of the film’s characters. 
“I hope that the audience can see themselves in these characters and as fellow human beings, support the equality of these people,” he said. 
For more Thai films to watch this month, click here.