Director Anthony Chen’s first English-language film Drift to premiere at Sundance in January, Latest Movies News - The New Paper

Director Anthony Chen’s first English-language film Drift to premiere at Sundance in January

Singaporean film-maker Anthony Chen’s first English-language film Drift will premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January.

In an Instagram announcement on Thursday, Chen, 38, wrote that he had been working on the feature, which was filmed in Greece, since 2019. It is about a woman (played by British actress Cynthia Erivo) who flees to Greece and survives on menial labour while coping with war trauma.

The film, adapted from Alexander Maksik’s 2013 novel A Marker To Measure Drift by Maksik and screenwriter Susanne Farrell, wrapped in May.

“This is hopefully a timely film that encourages us to look beyond our differences to what connects us all, our shared humanity,” Chen wrote in his post.

In an interview with The Straits Times in May, he spoke about why he chose to work on projects penned by others. He said that his creative input into the stories, as well as his decision to work only on projects that move him, make films like Drift “as personal as any film I have made”.

His previous self-penned works, such as Ilo Ilo (2013, and winner of Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival) and Wet Season (2019, winner of the Golden Horse Best Leading Actress award for Yeo Yann Yann), mainly featured dialogue in Mandarin and other regional languages.

“In the past several years, I’ve worked on projects where I’m not the screenwriter, but I work closely with the writer to develop the screenplay,” said the London-based director-producer. He recently produced the movie Ajoomma, which starred Singaporean actress Hong Huifang and was nominated for four Golden Horse Awards.

He wrote about Drift: “So many people toiled hard to put this film together. Heart is full. Can’t wait to share this film with the world.”