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Singapore-born filmmaker Sandi Tan's Sundance-winning docufilm Shirkers will premiere on Netflix globally in October

Singapore-born filmmaker Sandi Tan's Sundance-winning docufilm Shirkers will premiere on Netflix globally in October

Lost and found

Text: Yimin Huang

Editor: Aravin Sandran


The documentary is a throwback to 1992, when Sandi Tan shot an indie road movie in Singapore with the help of an American collaborator, who later mysteriously vanished with all the footage

In 1992, teenager Sandi Tan and her friends Sophie and Jasmine shot Shirkers in Singapore with their American mentor, Georges Cardona. Tan wrote the script and played the lead. After the shooting was completed, Cardona mysteriously vanished with all the footage. More than two decades later, the 16mm cans show up in New Orleans unexpectedly. Sandi, now a novelist in Los Angeles, has to retrace the years and embark on a wild journey to find the missing film.

In a way, Tan's experiences reflect the journey that creatives often undertake, where success is never a straight line forward but often follow an erratic path with several detours. After the devastating loss of her debut film's footage, she has tried her hand at writing a novel, The Black Isle, and also directed a few short films. The unexpected emergence of the footage has dragged her back to where she started. Decorated with the Directing Award in World Cinema Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, this full-length documentary, which features a plethora of formats such as 16mm, Hi8, Super8 and animation, is now being distributed to a global audience through Netflix and recognised as her career-defining work.

Shirkers will debut on Netflix globally on 26 October 2018.

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