Kirsten Tan's Pop Aye is Singapore's Best Foreign Language Film pick for Oscars 2018

Cinema still: Pop Aye, starring Thaneth Warakulnukroh and Bong the elephant. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES
Film-maker Kirsten Tan, 36, with the Her World Young Woman Achiever 2017 award. Her debut feature-length film Pop Aye clinched a prize at the Sundance Film Festival. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Local film-maker Kirsten Tan's debut feature Pop Aye has been picked as Singapore's submission to the 90th Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category.

It is the latest feather in the cap for the set-in-Thailand road movie about a down-and-out architect and his elephant friend.

Writer-director Tan, 35, said in a statement: "Love it or doubt it, every film-maker in the world pays attention to the Oscars - to have a shot at representing Singapore with my debut feature feels to me a powerful and humbling experience. With Bong the elephant as our lucky charm, I can't wait to see how far he would take us through the Oscar race."

The 90th Academy Awards will take place on March 4. The final five nominees for the Foreign Language Film category will be announced early next year.

The film will be starting a second run at The Projector from Saturday (Sept 30).

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Mr Joachim Ng, director of Singapore Film Commission, which picks Singapore's entry to the Oscars, said in a statement: "The film has resonated with audiences both at home and internationally. We are proud to submit it for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards 2018, and hope that more audiences will get acquainted with quality works by Singaporean film-makers."

Thus far, Pop Aye has been selected for more than 30 international film festivals and won four awards, including the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenwriting at Sundance Film Festival.

No Singapore film has made it to the shortlist of the Oscars.

Singapore's previous submissions include Ilo Ilo (2013), winner of the Golden Horse Best Film prize, directed by Anthony Chen, who executive-produced Pop Aye; Boo Junfeng's psychological drama Apprentice (2016); and the compendium 7 Letters (2015).

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