Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Thirteen Lives' Ploy Tungsupakul Hopes The Film Can Help Stateless People - Exclusive

The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that at least 10 million people in the world are stateless, meaning they aren't legally recognized as nationals of any country. Stateless people are often deprived of rights as a result of their status. This is a particularly major problem in Thailand, with 553,969 people registered by the Royal Thai Government as stateless as of June 2021. 

These issues are the basis of one of the more emotionally intense aspects of the movie "Thirteen Lives," based on the true story of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue. Four of the boys trapped in the cave were stateless at the time (via BBC), and the movie dedicates some intense scenes to one of these boys' mother, Buahom, played by Pattrakorn "Ploy" Tungsupakul, who needs to be sure that her child's status isn't going to impact him being rescued. Thankfully, it didn't, and the stateless children were granted Thai citizenship following their rescue. 

Looper got the chance to speak exclusively to Ploy about acting in "Thirteen Lives," and she told us how she hopes the film, releasing globally on Prime Video on August 5, will be able to raise awareness about the plight of stateless people.

Can a movie help with fundamental human rights?

When asked about her thoughts on the political issues central to her character in "Thirteen Lives," Ploy told Looper, "I am happy that this movie mentioned the stateless person situation in Thailand because it's still an ongoing issue in our country and [many other places] around the world. In my opinion, the stateless position is related to access to the fundamental human rights.

Ploy continued, "When this movie tries to [draw attention to] this issue, it's a great chance for the government or the people involved to relook into this issue and try to address the issue correctly." While it might be asking a lot to expect one movie to solve a major human rights issue, at the very least, it's certain to increase awareness of a problem that affects millions worldwide. 

"Thirteen Lives" is now in limited theatrical release and will be available to stream worldwide August 5 on Prime Video.