POP AYE, the debut feature film of Singaporean filmmaker Kirsten Tan, will make its World Premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. This marks the first time a feature film from Singapore will compete at Sundance, and 16 years since the last feature film from Singapore was selected.

The Sundance Film Festival takes place January 19-29 with screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah. The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, The End of the Tour, Little Miss Sunshine, Reservoir Dogs, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite.

Announced in a press announcement by the Sundance Institute, the film follows a middle-aged architect and his elephant across Thailand in search of the farm where they grew up together. The film was shot entirely on location in Thailand with Thai actors and crew.

Writer-director Kirsten Tan said, “When I first heard the news that my debut feature POP AYE was invited to compete at Sundance, I was over the moon. Having lived in New York for close to a decade, it feels truly special to have my first film play at such a prestigious American film festival like Sundance. I have worked so hard on the film for so long time and now, I just can’t wait for everyone to see it.”


POP AYE is up for several awards including the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema Directing Award and the Audience Prize.

The film is produced by Giraffe Pictures (Executive Producer, Anthony Chen) and E&W Films (Producer, Lai Weijie). NICE Cultural Investment Group and Giraffe Pictures provided the financing for the film, with the support of the New Talent Feature Grant from the Singapore Film Commission and the Production Award from TorinoFilmLab.

Executive Producer Anthony Chen said, “This is heartening news for both our team and for Singapore cinema. We hope to continue the wave of recent successes that Singapore films have achieved with POP AYE. This empowers us even more in the work that we do at Giraffe Pictures, supporting and nurturing emerging Singaporean and Asian filmmakers.”


On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a redemptive journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together.