KIRSTEN TAN, 36

Film Direc­tor and Screen­writer

Singapore Women's Weekly (Singapore) - - GREAT WOMEN OF OUR TIME -

Fe­male-di­rected films are few and far be­tween. In fact, with ev­ery in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­val held, the ques­tion gets more press­ing: Where are the fe­male di­rec­tors? Kirsten Tan is mak­ing her cin­e­matic pres­ence felt with her first full-length fea­ture, Pop Aye, which has be­come the only Sin­ga­pore film to win the World Cinema Dra­matic Spe­cial Jury Award for Screen­writ­ing at the pres­ti­gious Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val 2017. “Just be­ing at Sun­dance and see­ing peo­ple queu­ing up to watch my movie in Jan­uary, I felt like that, in it­self, was enough,” the writer-direc­tor re­calls. “But then I got the call from Trevor Groth, Direc­tor of Pro­gram­ming at Sun­dance, about the win. I was try­ing to main­tain my calm dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tion, but as soon as it ended, I re­ally cel­e­brated.” Her labour of love, which took three-and-a-half years to cre­ate, is proof that there has never been a bet­ter time for women to make their mark with lo­cal films. “There is quite a se­ri­ous gen­der im­bal­ance in the film­mak­ing in­dus­try, not just in Sin­ga­pore, but it’s good that peo­ple are fi­nally recog­nis­ing it as a prob­lem,” says Kirsten.

WORDS TO LIVE BY: “Al­ways chal­lenge the sta­tus quo.” NEXT UP: “I’m work­ing on a cou­ple of short projects: A com­mer­cial and a com­mis­sioned short film. Just short-form stuff, so I can re­lax and take it slightly easy for now.”

Jacket from Q Menswear; and T-shirt from H&M.

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