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Documentary praised for "a sense of optimism"

Friday, October 11, 2019
7 p.m. - Conversation, Q/A with director Sandi Tan
Page Hall, UAlbany downtown campus
135 Western Avenue, Albany
Free and open to the public

(Singapore/USA, 2018, 96 minutes, color) Starring and directed by Sandi Tan.

While still a teen in 1992, Sandi Tan made one of Singapore’s first indie feature films, SHIRKERS, under the mentorship of a shady American teacher who vanished with the film stock before it could be finished and released.


Her same-titled 2018 documentary reflects on her shattered creative dreams, and explains what happened when the footage was unexpectedly returned two decades later.


Released as a Netflix original, the film received a Directing Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The New Yorker called it “vastly imaginative and ambitious…. gloriously, gleefully idiosyncratic, a blend of punk energy and local documentation.”

Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Center for International Education & Global Strategy and Intensive English Language Program.

Related links:

Shirkers: a movie mystery 25 years in the making (The Guardian)


Classic Film Series


“The nice thing about coming from a place where everybody is very negative is you really are not easily discouraged,” she says with a laugh. “I knew this was a good story. I knew I had great footage, I knew I had good interviews, I knew there was going to be a movie here that was going to be compelling. It was just finding my way there, solving this gigantic jigsaw puzzle was going to take time and effort.

“I love a challenge,” she adds. “I mean, how can you not find this fun? I just think this is the most fun thing in the world.”


-- Sandi Tan, speaking to the Los Angeles Times 

Sandi Tan headshot800.jpg

About The Classic Film Series

The NYS Writers Institute’s Classic Film Series, presented with support from Marc Guggenheim, UAlbany Class of ‘92, features screenings of domestic and international films of distinction and film festivals devoted to the work of particular directors, producers, or screenwriters.

The series has included rare films culled from archives and private collections, pre-release screenings from major studios, contemporary international offerings, as well as classics made in the U.S. The Institute will launch the Albany Film Festival in March 2020.


Classic Film Series

Some of the filmmakers and screenwriters who have visited the Institute have included Hal Ashby, Hector Babenco, Costa-Gavras, Tomas Gutierrez-Alea, James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, Neil Jordan, Spike Lee, Albert Mayseles, Gordon Parks, Sr., Raoul Peck, D.A. Pennebacker and Chris Hegedus, Bob Rafelson, Phil Alden Robinson, Wallace Shawn, Ron Shelton, Christine Vachon, Agnes Varda, and Robert Wise, and Doug Wright.

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