Name: Kirsten Tan
Date of birth: 5 February 1981
How she got started: When she was a film student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Tan climbed into the 'Restricted: For teaching purposes only' segment of Ngee Ann Library to access VHS tapes from filmmakers like Chantal Akerman, Andrei Tarkovsky and Roy Andersson. The rarity of arthouse films in Singapore in the early 2000s made those films precious to her, which was something she had actively sought out. She always returned the films, of course, after playing them on a VHS player in an adjourning darkened video room.
Notable achievements: This year, Tan won the Special Jury Prize in screenwriting for her film, Pop Aye, at the Sundance Film Festival. For the same film, she also scored a VPRO Big Screen Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. 2015 saw her nabbing the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council, with Popeye screening at the Cannes Film Festival under L'Atelier. In 2014, her film, Dahdi, won Best Southeast Asian Short Film at the Singapore International Film Festival.
Something you might not have known about her: Tan ran a t-shirt shop at Chatuchak market in Bangkok for one year. She's also blind in one eye.
A quote to sum it all up: "When the lights come on, I won't know a single thing about you, but you'll know everything about me. Cinema is the best way for me to get intimate with someone, without ever having met them."
Read more about Kirsten Tan here.
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