POP AYE picked to represent Singapore at Oscars

Published on 25 September 2017

Filming POP AYE. Going behind-the-scenes with director-writer, Kirsten Tan (Photo courtesy of Giraffe Pictures Pte Ltd)

Kirsten Tan’s debut feature film has been submitted by Singapore to compete in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards. We pose her three questions.

By Pamela Ho

Photo courtesy of Giraffe Pictures Pte Ltd
Singapore Represent! [From L to R] Producer Lau Weijie, Director-Writer Kirsten Tan, and Executive Producer Anthony Chen of Giraffe Pictures (Photo courtesy of Lau Weijie)

Giraffe Pictures must be rejoicing with the success brought by Bong the elephant! Or rather, by New York-based Singaporean filmmaker, Kirsten Tan, who stuck her neck out to make an ambitious film about a disillusioned architect who, upon being reunited with his childhood elephant, embarks on a road trip across Thailand in search of their old home.

Pop Aye – Tan’s first feature film – has already been selected to screen in over 30 international film festivals and has clinched four awards to date, including the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenwriting at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and the VPRO Big Screen Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The latest feather in its cap? The film has been chosen as Singapore’s submission for the Foreign Language Film category of the 90th Academy Awards.

Created by a talented team of Singaporeans – director/writer Kirsten Tan, producers Lai Weijie and Huang Wenhong, and executive producer Anthony Chen – Pop Aye is currently playing at the OzAsia Festival in Adelaide till 1 October, and will be starting a second theatrical run at The Projector from 30 September.

The A List catches up with Kirsten Tan to get her reaction to the news.

When did you find out about this? How did you react and celebrate? 

I first heard the news just seconds before my plane took off from Berlin to Adelaide. Needless to say, it was a long happy plane ride. We had to keep the news private so there wasn’t much of a celebration but now that it is out, I’m hoping to celebrate with loved ones and family soon.

What are your hopes for Pop Aye at the Oscars?  

For now, we are only Singapore’s entry to the Foreign Film category, we still have to make it past many other excellent films to reach the final Oscar night. I’m just immensely humbled to be able to represent Singapore in the race to the Oscars. I hope Pop Aye goes far and I do my fellow Singaporeans proud.

Is there a new film brewing? Do you feel added pressure because of how well your first feature film did? 

I’m still doing the festival circuit with Pop Aye. Just in the month of October, I’ll be flying to Zurich, London, Busan, Manila and Tokyo. As much as I am itching to start writing, I need the festival travelling to cool down a bit first. Since I’m still very much living Pop Aye at the moment, I don’t feel any additional pressure for now, but I suspect I will once I start working on my next film!

To find out more about Tan’s work, click here.

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