"Pop Aye" makes history with Sundance win

Writer: Florey DM

Kirsten Tan's debut feature "Pop Aye" follows the journey made by a man and his elephant.

31 Jan – Not only is "Pop Aye" the first Singaporean movie to compete in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, it is also the first to win in it!

"Congratulations to film-maker Kirsten Tan for being the first (but hopefully not only) Singaporean to win a prize at the Sundance Film Festival," stated a post on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Facebook following the historic win for Singapore.

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenplay was presented to Kirsten Tan, who wrote the script and directed the movie, at the largest independent film festival in the US.

The Singaporean filmmaker's debut feature kicked off the World Cinema Dramatic Competition on the first day of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

The movie, about a disenchanted architect (Thaneth Warakulnukroh) who bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok and decides to go on a road trip to find the farm where they grew up together, was met with positive reception at the festival.

"Pop Aye" is the first feature-length film, which was filmed in Thailand, for the New York-based Tan.

It also recently made its European premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) and is one of the movies competing in the festival's Big Screen Competition. It will go up against seven other movies for the VPRO Big Screen Award worth €30,000.

The IFFR is currently taking place until this 5 February. "Pop Aye" has a total of six screenings at the festival, the last of which will play on 4 February.

Cinema Online, 31 January 2017

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