Play Your Part

Kirsten Tan

How did you get into directing?
Since a young age, I’ve enjoyed books, comics, music, traveling, games and photography-–anything that takes me away and provides an escape. Once I discovered that directing allows me to indulge in a combination of everything I love, it’s quite natural that I got into it.

What is your most recent project?
The most recent project I completed is a short film titled Thin Air. I fully completed it a month ago and am in the process of sending it out to festivals. Here is a synopsis: Thin Air is a whimsical tale chronicling the final days of Hector. Seated in a wheelchair parked on the roof of his apartment building, Hector flings fishing lines into the cold heights of New York City. He bides his time for the impossible catch, whilst reality bites in the form of Cecilia, his home-care aide. Thin Air is not simply an elegy to solitude. Sometimes the quieter one’s world is, the harder one dreams and sometimes the universe hears you.

What is the best part of being a director?
Bringing people into the world you’ve created. That without having met a person, you’re able to share with him or her your imaginations and feelings. That in a darkened theatre, you’re able to take the audience anywhere as long as they’re willing to put their trust in you. And also, when you find creative chemistry with right-minded folks, it’s pure magic.

Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons)
and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates most with you?

I’m currently enrolled in NYU’s Grad Film Program where I’m tutored under different faculty members that include professors such as Laura Belsey; John Tintori; Sandi Sissel; Jay Anania; Mick Casale; Gail Segal; Todd Solondz and Spike Lee. Many of them have had illustrious careers before coming to teach and yet when you meet them, they are really genuine and down to earth. There’s something very authentic about them as human beings. Collectively, they’ve demonstrated to me that integrity and who you are as a person does not have to be compromised in order to have a great career. That in itself is really inspiring.