“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
Tan Pin Pin is a film director from Singapore. Her films are explorations of Singapore, her histories, contexts and limits. They have found loyal followers in different contexts. They have screened at Berlin, Busan, Cinema du Reel, Visions du Reel, Lincoln Center and at the Flaherty Seminar. They have also screened internationally on Discovery Networks. In Singapore, they have received sold out theatrical screenings and toured schools. 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, most recently for To Singapore, with Love (2013) from Dubai International Film Festival. This film was subsequently banned from public screenings in Singapore for “undermining national security”. Meanwhile, the citation for the award from Cinema du Reel for Invisible City (2007) reads “A witty, intellectually challenging essay on history and memory as tools of civil resistance”. Singapore GaGa (2005) voted the Best Film, 2006, Straits Times, is described as “One of the best films about Singapore”. 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. It garnered unanimous rave reviews when it was released in Singapore.
Pin Pin is currently artist in residence at the Nanyang Technological University Centre For Contemporary Art. She is in production for her new feature documentary.
She is on the “Asian Cinema 100” list of top 100 Directors, a list compiled by Busan International Film Festival and Busan Film Centre.
Pin Pin is a co-founding member of filmcommunitysg, a community of independent filmmakers. She worked with colleagues to have films with artistic and cultural merit as well as documentaries specifically included in the Singapore Film Commission’s New Talent Feature Grant Scheme. She was on the Board of The Substation where she worked with her colleagues to search for a new Artistic Director. She was on the Board of the National Archives of Singapore. Together with Yuni Hadi, they co-founded the Fly by Night Video Challenge which has seen several hundred short films made in the ten years it has been run. She has been on film juries of Cinemanila, Jiffest, Busan and DMZDocs amongst others.
Her other works include The Impossibility of Knowing (2010), a commission from DMZDocs and Snow City, both of which were shown at the Singapore Biennale 2011. Yangtze Scribbler (2012) and thesaurus (2012) were commissioned by the Singapore Memory Project.
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 a film production MFA at Northwestern University, USA. While she was there, she won the Kodak Eastman Scholarship for Cinematography. She is a qualified lawyer and has a law degree from Oxford University.
- “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