The Iron Ladies
|The Iron Ladies|
|Directed by||Youngyooth Thongkonthun|
|Written by||Visuttchai Boonyakarnjawa
|Editing by||Sunij Asavinikul|
|Distributed by||Tai Entertainment|
|Running time||104 min.|
The Iron Ladies (Thai: สตรีเหล็ก or Satree lek) is a Thai comedy film from the year 2000. The movie follows the true events of a men's volleyball team, composed mainly of gay and kathoey (transgender) athletes. The movie was directed by Youngyooth Thongkonthun and written by Visuttchai Boonyakarnjawa and Jira Maligool.
In 2003, the combined sequel and prequel called The Iron Ladies 2 (Satree lek 2)  was released. The film is based upon how the characters of The Iron Ladies met, and how they would later reunite for another volleyball tournament.
The film was released in 2001 and is set in 1996, when the real team competed and won the national championships in Thailand. The two main characters, Mon and Jung, play two gay transvestites, who had been constantly overlooked by volleyball coaches because of their appearance. However, when a local team changes coaches, the new coach holds tryouts for a new team. When Mon and Jung are selected, most of the old players resign, leaving the new coach, Coach Bee, in a sticky predicament.
Mon and Jung are then forced to enlist the help of other gay and transsexual friends who they used to play volleyball with in university. These new players include Wit, who hasn't told his fiancée he is gay, Pia, a transsexual dancer and Nong, a gay army conscript. When the competition begins, all but one player in the team are gay or transsexual.
Because of their appearance on court, many of the match officials intend to ban the team, soon dubbed "The Iron Ladies", from the tournament. However, seeing how much the team is liked by the crowd soon changes many of their opinions.
At the end credits of the film, the real "Iron Ladies" are shown as they were at the time of making the film.
- Jesdaporn Pholdee – Chai
- Sahaphap Tor – Mon
- Chaicharn Nimpulsawasdi – Jung
- Giorgio Maiocchi – Nong
- Ekachai Buranapanit – Wit
- Kokkorn Benjathikoon – Pia
- Shiriohana Hongsopon – Coach Bee
- Phomsit Sitthijamroenkhun – April
- Sutthipong Sitthijamroenkhun – May
- Anucha Chatkaew – June
A hit in Thailand as well as the international film festival circuit, the film has been nominated twelve times and won ten awards, including the Thailand National Film Association Awards, Toronto International Film Festival and the reader award of German LGBT magazine Siegessäule at the Berlin International Film Festival. It also played at the Pusan International Film Festival, the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival and the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.