In conjunction with the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, one of the oldest film seminars in North America, Colgate this year hosted its fifth Global Filmmaker-in-Residence, Tan Pin Pin, on the week of October 15–19.
The week included screenings of Tan Pin Pin’s films, lectures on cinematography and artistic challenges, and serious conversations between Tan Pin Pin and members of the Colgate community.
Tan Pin Pin’s work is deeply rooted in her Singaporean heritage, and many of her films deal with issues of identity, conflict, and national struggle. Her work has been well-received for nuanced insight into Singaporean identity, particularly in its dealings with Singaporean independence.
In tackling problems of decolonization and rediscovering cultural roots, Tan Pin Pin has been screened at festivals around the globe, including Berlinale, Hot Docs, Busan, Cinéma du Réel, Visions du Réel, SXSW, and at the Flaherty Seminar. Her work has won more than 20 awards, including Best Director in 2013 at the Dubai Film Festival and the Scam International Award in 2007 at the Cinéma du Réel.
“[The Filmmaker-in-Residence program] is a chance for students to see film and talk with the filmmaker,” said Associate Professor Mary Simonson, director of the Film and Media Studies Program. “Because it’s a week long, students have extended time for discussion and dialogue with the filmmaker, as opposed to our usual events, at which they watch a film, have a Q&A for twenty minutes, and then leave. It’s a really intense week, but a great week.”
During the course of that intense week, the Film and Media Studies Program hosted multiple meals and critiques with Tan Pin Pin herself, during which students in the concentration exchanged ideas and thoughts on each other’s work.
The Flaherty Seminar also provided the opportunity for two students to become program fellows, working personally with Tan Pin Pin, both to enhance her experience at Colgate and to improve their own work as fledgling filmmakers.
“She was incredibly kind and willing to talk about her work and inspirations,” said Flaherty fellow Vanessa Lizana ’20. “The fellowship program gave me the opportunity to spend time with an established filmmaker and learn what she had to offer.”
Tan Pin Pin is the first Asian filmmaker brought to Colgate through the Filmmaker-in-Residence program, and the Film and Media Studies Program intends to continue the residency next year.