Director Mark Verkerk(Dutch guy) stayed a year in the heart of the "Golden Triangle" to make this moving and touching movie.
Excellent documentary about a man, Phra Kru Ba Neua Chai, that used to be a professional Thai kick boxer, but did not find the career rewarding and became a Thai Buddhist monk instead. After a close friend of his dies he realizes his kick boxing career is not truly fulfilling so he abruptly stops his professional career and starts meditating to learn what it is he should be doing with his life. He decides on becoming a monk and opens a monastery high up in the hills along the Thai Burma border. This monastery is called Golden Horse Monastery and becomes a safe haven for orphaned boys from the surrounding villages. Many of these villages are along the route of drug smugglers so the villagers are often abused and scared into helping the drug war lords. Phra Kru Ba uses his kick boxing experience to train the boys in his orphanage to defend themselves only if needed and to help build the boys self confidence. The monastery started receiving donated horses being saved from slaughter houses, so these are used as well to teach the boys equestrian skills and how to care for another living creature. The work of this one single monk is to be commended and the film does an excellent job of telling a great story without imposing any commentary. The monk is not a traditional monk, but he clearly states he is helping the boys first, and a monk second, so a mix of skills are used to teach the boys life lessons. I am sure some Buddhist monks would cringe at some of Phra Kru Ba’s techniques; however I am just as sure that they are the right techniques needed in such a tough environment. He is teaching these young boys how to be responsible and respectful, most of which came to him with zero life skills. They are learning life lessons that they would not have received if left alone in their villages. Some boys only stay a few weeks and return home while other boys stay for years. Some boys decide to become novice monks and are taught how to meditate and care for each other. Each novice is given a horse to care for and each novice is also taught how to teach the newest novice. By being assigned the task of teaching the newest novice how to train and how to care for a horse they themselves are learning they have these skills. You can see the confidence grow within these boys in a very short window of time and it is a beautiful experience to witness. The stories that unfold in this documentary are heart warming and honest.