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“POP AYE” First Singaporean Feature Film To Compete At Sundance

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POP AYE, the debut feature film of Singaporean filmmaker Kirsten Tan, will make its World Premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. This marks the first time a feature film from Singapore will compete at Sundance, and 16 years since the last feature film from Singapore was selected.

The Sundance Film Festival takes place January 19-29 with screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah. The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most ground breaking films of the past three decades, including Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, The End of the Tour, Little Miss Sunshine,Reservoir Dogs, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite.

Announced in a press announcement by the Sundance Institute, the film follows a middle-aged architect and his elephant across Thailand in search of the farm where they grew up together. The film was shot entirely on location in Thailand with Thai actors and crew.

Writer-director Kirsten Tan said, “When I first heard the news that my debut feature POP AYE was invited to compete at Sundance, I was over the moon. Having lived in New York for close to a decade, it feels truly special to have my first film play at such a prestigious American film festival like Sundance. I have worked so hard on the film for so long time and now, I just can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

POP AYE is up for several awards including the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema Directing Award and the Audience Prize. The film is produced by Giraffe Pictures (Executive Producer, Anthony Chen) and E&W Films (Producer, Lai Weijie). NICE Cultural Investment Group and Giraffe Pictures provided the financing for the film, with the support of the New Talent Feature Grant from the Singapore Film Commission and the Production Award from Torino Film Lab.

Executive Producer Anthony Chen said, “This is heartening news for both our team and for Singapore cinema. We hope to continue the wave of recent successes that Singapore films have achieved with POP AYE. This empowers us even more in the work that we do at Giraffe Pictures, supporting and nurturing emerging Singaporean and Asian filmmakers.”

On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a redemptive journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together.

For more information and updates on the film, visit www.giraffepictures.asia

About Director:
Kirsten Tan’s works have screened at film festivals in Singapore, Rotterdam, Toronto, and Busan. She has received over ten international awards including Best Southeast Asian Short Film for Dahdi (2014), and Best Director for Fonzi (2007) at the Singapore International Film Festival. Her debut feature, POP AYE, developed at Berlinale Talents, Torino Film Lab, where it won the Production Award, and Cannes Atelier, will premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

About Giraffe Pictures:
Giraffe Pictures is a boutique film company founded by Singapore filmmaker Anthony Chen and producer Huang Wenhong. Based in Singapore, the company prides itself as a home for emerging filmmakers in Asia. Giraffe Pictures aims to become an international label for the best of Asian cinema, focusing on cinematic creativity and vision, telling unique Asian stories that will resonate with a global audience.

About Executive Producer:
Anthony Chen’s films have won awards and screened at film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Busan, Rotterdam, London, Dubai, Mumbai, Stockholm, and Melbourne. His debut feature film Ilo Ilo, was awarded the Camera d’Orat the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. It went on to pick up 40 awards at festivals worldwide including 4 Golden Horse Awards at the 50th Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. Anthony was named as Variety’s 10 Directors to watch in 2014. He recently launched Giraffe Pictures, a boutique film company with an aim to nurture and develop new voices in Asia.

About Producer:
Lai Weijie is a film producer based in Singapore. His producing credits include the upcoming debut film by Kirsten Tan POPAYE, and her short film Dahdi, Best Southeast Asian Short Film at the 25th Singapore International Film Festival. He works closely with Anthony Chen’s Giraffe Pictures and was producer for the Singapore / Taiwan segment of Distance, a film spanning four countries and starring Chen Bolin. As Project Manager at the Singapore International Film Festival, Weijie initiated two film mentorship programmes: the Southeast Asian Film Lab and the Youth Jury & Critics Programme.

Image Credit: Giraffe Pictures

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