87: Sandi Tan on “Shirkers”

Winner of the 2018 Sundance Directing Award for World Documentary, Sandi Tan makes her debut with “Shirkers,” now on Netflix. She grew up in Singapore. As a teenager in the 1980s, she had an outsider’s sensibility, obsessed with punk rock, fanzines, and indie film. She took a film class from a middle-aged American man named Georges Cardona who became her mentor, friend and ultimately the thief of her dreams. At age 19, Sandi wrote and starred in a fiction film called “Shirkers.” Cardona was the director, but after production, he took the footage and never gave it back. Twenty-five years later, Sandi goes in search of what happened to her film and the circle of friends who made it.

Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers interviews Sandi about the making of “Shirkers.” The conversation contains spoilers, so do yourself a favor by watching the film first on Netflix. (The film also plays on the DOC NYC Short List with Sandi at a Q&A on Nov 9).

There’s a bonus near the end of the podcast where Sandi describes her connection to the cult Singapore action film “They Call Her Cleopatra Wong.”

On Twitter: @ShirkersFilm @thompowers @PureNonfiction

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

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