The Slamdance Film Festival, which takes place in Utah in January has unveiled its documentary feature competition program, comprising eight documentaries made by first-time directors. “Buffalo Girls” directed by Todd Kellstein and produced by Lanette Phillips, Jonathon Ker, Michael Pierce has the honor of being among those selected.

The trailer for the new film “Buffalo Girls” states that there are 30,000 child fighters in Thailand.
This film chronicles two professional female Muay Thai fighters, who are only eight years old, as they fight in rural Thailand’s underground child boxing economy to earn money to support their families.

From the “Buffalo Girls” website:

“Buffalo Girls tells the story of two 8-year-old-girls, Stam and Pet, both professional Muay Thai prizefighters. Set in small villages throughout rural Thailand, the film chronicles these young girls’ emotional and sometimes heartbreaking journey as they fight in small underground arenas to win prize-money to help provide for their families. After many months of training and a long schedule of fights, Stam and Pet fight each other for the 20 Kilo championship belt of Thailand and a cash prize that will change the winner’s life forever.”

Buffalo Girls – Slamdance 2012 Official Selection – Trailer from Buffalogirlsthemovie on Vimeo.

I was so torn watching this trailer. I love Thailand, the culture, the people, the land, the architecture, the traditions and the spiritual beliefs. But my heart aches watching the inside view of these 2 children who have deep rooted reasons to fight based on survival needs; the survival of their families, for their basic human needs, food , water, shelter, & clothing. For that reason the film has also been posted on Vimeo’s socially minded documentaries.

Although on one hand I’m thrilled to see girls in the ring, especially since not too long ago they were forbidden to be allowed in a Thai boxing ring and train among males. Now I find it somewhat perverse as children are used to generate money to help support their families. I can not help equate it to the same sort of mentality that is used in the promotion of gambling on cock fighting, dog fighting and the like… Only now they are using young children! It just gets your heart strings!

I guess I should be happy with this double edged sword, even though the price of the rise of women’s empowerment is at the expense of the inspiring, young, “Buffalo Girls” who fight nobly and courageously. Perhaps Stam and Pet would fight regardless of their situation, or perhaps there is greater joy for them when they have success because of it’s value to them. But I’m sure that not one of us men and women alike, who watch this trailer are not disturbed by the underlying nature of a world that still abuses and victimizes the weaker or more vulnerable at the price to make a buck in a sport we love.

If you’re not attending the Slamdance film festival it’s uncertain whether or not this film will be made available to the general public. Let us hope, dependent on how well received this film is, that it does extraordinarily well at the festival so it will be seen! Without a doubt this film will prove powerfully life transforming not only for “Buffalo Girls” Stam and Pet pertaining to their financial concerns but also for an entire generation of girls in the eyes of the boys they fight alongside as the grow to maturity.

“Buffalo Girls” is definitely on my list of a must see film!

Click here to like “Buffalo Girls” Facebook page

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3 Responses so far.

  1. whether you’ re training to combat or maybe simply to reduce weight and get in shape, muay thai is nice to the thoughts, body, and spirit.

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  3. […] Women to Follow Wednesday’s featured women are not women at all; they are little girls. Stam and Pet are professional Muay Thai fighters featured in a 2012 documentary by Todd Kellstein. According to […]

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