“Few Singaporean artists of any medium have trained their gaze as penetratingly and persistently on the nation’s identity. Self-examination, both its necessity and its limits, as well as the intersection between the personal and the public, are the thematic foundations to Tan’s work.” – Moviemaker
Director Tan Pin Pin’s films chronicle and question the gaps in history, memory and documentation. Her films study the process of self-examination itself, rendering its complexities with emotional power and visual clarity. They have screened at leading festivals including Berlinale, Hot Docs, Busan, Cinéma du Réel, Visions du Réel, SXSW and at the Flaherty Seminar.
In Singapore, they have had sold-out theatrical screenings and toured schools. Singapore GaGa (2005) was the first Singapore documentary to have a theatrical run where it ran for 8 weeks. Meanwhile, her video installations were shown in the President’s Young Talent Show, Singapore Biennale, p-10 and at IFA Gallery, Berlin.
She has won or been nominated for more than 20 awards. In 2013, To Singapore, with Love (banned in Singapore) won Best Director from Dubai International Film Festival. Invisible City (2007) won the Scam International Award at Cinéma du Réel. Singapore GaGa (2005) was voted Best Film by Singapore’s The Straits Times. Moving House (2001), her thesis film, won the Student Academy Award for Best Documentary. In 2015, her short film Pineapple Town (2015) was one of seven in the 7 Letters omnibus which was Singapore’s submission to the Oscars.
Tan is on the “Asian Cinema 100” list of top 100 Directors compiled by Busan International Film Festival. She has been on film juries of Cinemanila, Jiffest, Busan and DMZDocs. She has mentored at labs like Docs Port Incheon. She has toured universities with her work, most recently, she presented her films as the Global Artist-in-Residence, Colgate University. She has had retrospectives at Memory Film Festival, Yangon and RIDM, Montreal. In 2018, she was admitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Pin Pin is a co-founding member of filmcommunitysg, a community of independent filmmakers. She is currently a board member of the Singapore International Film Festival. She was a former board member of The Substation and the National Archives of Singapore.
Pin Pin started out as an assistant director in TV dramas, (Triple Nine, Growing Up) and sitcoms (Under One Roof) before she won an S. Rajaratnam scholarship to study for an MFA at Northwestern University, USA. While she was there, she won the Kodak Eastman Scholarship for Cinematography. She was called to the Singapore Bar and she has a law degree from Oxford University.
IN TIME TO COME is her latest film. It launched theatrically in Singapore on 28 September 2017.
- “Tan Pin Pin. No Vacation From Politics” – Jeu De Paume
- “Banned Film Reunites Singapore With Its Exiles” – The New York Times
- “Love in Exile: a Cinematic Pilgrimage to Watch Tan Pin Pin’s Censored To Singapore, with Love” – MovieMaker
- Cinematheque Quarterly email interview by Vinita Ramini – National Museum of Singapore
- “On the Banning of a Film: Tan Pin Pin’s To Singapore, with Love” – Senses of Cinema
- “To Singapore, with Love: “If You Care Too Much About Singapore, First It Breaks Your Spirit, Then It Breaks Your Heart” – Manifesta
- Statement on MDA Rating
- Pin Pin on IMDb
Gestures of Resistance: An Interview with Tan Pin Pin, an interview with Joanne Leow, Senses of Cinema