Shirkers on Oscar shortlist, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Shirkers on Oscar shortlist

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Director Sandi Tan's Shirkers has made it to the Oscars' shortlist for Best Documentary Feature, likely the first such achievement for a Singapore-born film-maker.

Her work is among 15 films whittled down from the 166 submitted. The final nominees will be announced on Jan 22.

In a WhatsApp message to The Straits Times, Tan, 46, said: "It's a particularly strong year - lots of media references to this year being the golden age of documentary - and I am thrilled to be part of a cohort of some of the most exciting and innovative film-makers working today.

"It's been a glorious year for us all on the circuit and no matter what happens, we'll be bound by having been comrades in this exceptional year."

Shirkers is about her mentor, American film teacher Georges Cardona, vanishing with a 1992 road movie of the same name that the then 19-year-old and her two friends Jasmine Ng and Sophia Siddique had made.

The documentary deals with the aftermath of the theft and how it haunted them.

Twenty years later, Cardona's widow contacts Tan to tell her that she has the footage, minus the audio tracks. But answers remain elusive.

The documentary won Tan, a former Straits Times film critic, a Sundance Award for Best Director. It has also made it to several best-of-2018 lists, including one by the British Film Institute.

The film is streaming on Netflix. Tan's previous works include the short films Gourmet Baby (2001) and Moveable Feast (1995).

Other titles on the Oscars shortlist include Won't You Be My Neighbor?, the US Critics Choice Award Best Documentary winner about beloved American television personality Fred Rogers; Three Identical Strangers, about triplets separated at birth who later find one another as teenagers; and RBG, a film about the American Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Previously, Singaporean animator Nickson Fong, as part of a three-man international team, took home an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2013 for inventing a technique that makes 3D animated characters and faces more life-like.