Director Kristen Tan's Pop Aye has been selected as this year's Oscar entry for the Best Foreign Language film from Singapore. The Singapore Film Commission (SFC)—a wing of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)—has selected the Singaporean-Thai drama for the 90th Academy Awards.
The film has already won accolades across the globe including screenings at 30 international film festivals and four awards. Director Tan also became the first Singaporean to win the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenwriting at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival early this year.
Set completely in Thailand, the film narrates the story of a middle-aged architect Thana (Thaneth Warakulnukroh). As he loses interest in his life, he meets his childhood companion, Pop Aye, the elephant. Together they embark on a journey to their rural village to meet his uncle Peak (Narong Pongpab).
"Pop Aye' is a story of self-discovery, beautifully told by a Singapore team, including director-writer Kirsten Tan, producers Lai Weijie and Huang Wenhong, and executive producer Anthony Chen. The film has resonated with audiences both at home and internationally," said Joachim Ng, director of the Singapore Film Commission in a statement.
"I feel incredibly honoured and proud to be Singapore's entry to the Academy Awards with POP AYE. Love it or doubt it, every filmmaker in the world pays attention to the Oscars – to have a shot at representing Singapore with my debut feature feels to me, a powerful and humbling experience," Today Online quoted director Kirsten Tan from Australia.
Variety noted that Pop Aye just opened theatrically in Taiwan after North America, France, The Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand. The film will next screen at Zurich Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, and Tokyo International Film Festival.