A versatile filmmaker with a penchant for bold visual storytelling, Kirsten Tan’s works straddle a range of genres, but are consistent in their humanity and off-beat humor.
Being a bit of an adventurer, she was raised in Singapore but has lived in South Korea and Thailand before New York City, where she recently completed a Master’s in Film Production at New York University. There she was honored to receive the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts Fellowship.
Her works have been showcased in a host of international film festivals. She has screened thrice at Rotterdam International Film Festival for Sink (2009), Dahdi (2015) and the recently completed POP AYE (2017). She co-directed a fashion film, Ella (2014), for Giorgio Armani, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Ella received an AICP show honor and has been included as a part of the archives of the Department of Film at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). She competed at the Busan International Film Festival with Cold Noodles (2010); the film also won Reel 13 shorts and later aired on the PBS channel. Her short work Play Your Part (2012) was a finalist at the AICP award Show and was further screened in the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Theatre in NY and LA. The piece was later awarded Best-Of-All entries at the Porsche Awards in Germany.
She has collected over fifteen international awards, most recently the Special Jury Prize for Screenwriting at the Sundance Film Festival for POP AYE (2017), and is a four-time Silver Screen Award Nominee at the Singapore International Film Festival, where she won Best Southeast Asian Film for Dahdi (2014), Best Director for Fonzi (2007), and Special Jury Prize for 10 Minutes Later (2006).
In 2017, she completed her debut feature – POP AYE. It was selected to participate in Berlinale Talent’s Script Station 2014. It also competed in Torino Film Lab’s Framework Program 2014, where it was awarded the Top Prize of 65,000€. In 2015, POP AYE was invited by the Cannes Film Festival as one of 15 projects presented under L'Atelier, which showcases a tightly-curated selection of feature films in pre-production.
POP AYE made its World Premiere in competition at Sundance Film Festival 2017 - it was the Opening Film for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. It screened to positive reviews from The Hollywood Reporter, Roger Ebert, Variety and Screen International. It went on to receive a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. For its European premiere, POP AYE was awarded the VPRO Big Screen Award at Rotterdam International Film Festival.
Commercially, she has directed content for brands including Heineken, Giorgio Armani, TED Talks, Magnum Ice-cream and Credit-Suisse.
She was featured on CNN International’s flagship program, Ones to Watch, which 'shines a spotlight on up-and-coming creative talents set to be the next big names in culture and the arts'. Other press features include BBC World, Paper Magazine, Channel News Asia, The Straits Times, Buro247, Timeout Singapore, Prestige Magazine, Cleo, and SG Asia, amongst others.