Thai Film Fest features ‘Iron Ladies’

Thai Film Fest features Iron Ladies

By Chris Krapek

There’s more to Thailand than Bangkok and z; let the Thai Film Festival educate you.

The Thai Student Association will screen the film “Iron Ladies” at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Neptune Hall Central Room 120.

Dan Pojar, political science professor and former president of the TSA, said the film was chosen because it depicts fun that is so prevalent in the Southeastern Asian country.

“[‘Iron Ladies’] is a LGBT-themed film that follows the exploits of the 1996 volleyball team in Thailand that was composed of gay Thai men and transgenders,” he said. “To make a long story short, they end up winning the Thai national championship.”

This is the third film in the series after the TSA screened “Nang Nag,” a ghost movie, along with the 2004 Thai horror film “Shutter.” To conclude the series, the 2003 cult classic, Muy Thai action film “Ong-Bak” will be shown next Thursday.

Poonnatree Jiaviriyaboonya, anthropology graduate student and president of the TSA, said the aim of the festival is to encourage NIU students to learn and become more aware of Thai culture.

“We want to support and expand the academic interests of Thai studies as well as utilize the alumni network of NIU Thai and Thailand-interested alums,” she said.

Currently, the two-year-old group has around 20 members ranging from undergraduates to doctoral students.

Pojar, who came to NIU specifically for the Center for Southeastern Asian Studies, said he fell in love with Thailand when he was stationed there as an active intelligence officer in the military. The first thing that struck him was the people.

“…The Thai people are very genuine and fun loving, there’s an element of fun that’s so important to Thai culture,” he said. “Even working at the Thai military –the U.S. military was a serious bunch, and rightfully so– there wasn’t a day that went by that they didn’t bring in some type of fun in the day-to-day grind.”

Sira Sasitorn, junior operations management and information system major, was raised in Thailand. He came to America three years ago because his father is the Thai Consulate General in Chicago.

“The transition has been tough for the first year, since I moved to a completely new environment,” he said. “However, after a few years, I adjusted to it and now love the environment, except the weather, and friends.”

Sasitorn said he likes the lifestyle that Americans lead, however, he misses the atmosphere back in Thailand. And the food.

He hopes that anyone who comes to the festival will be exposed to the different perspectives in films we don’t necessarily see in America.

“If you want to see a movie that isn’t made with Hollywood formula, or just want to have a good laugh and see Thai humor, you should come to this Thursday’s event,” he said.