Sandi Tan published a cult zine called The Exploding Cat at 16 and at 22 became the film critic at The Straits Times, Singapore's largest newspaper (1995-1997). Then she threw all that away to run off to film school at Columbia University. Her short films Moveable Feast and Gourmet Baby have played at over 100 film festivals including the New York Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand and at MoMA, as well as broadcast internationally on RAI, SBS and ZDF/arte.
She is also the author of The Black Isle, an epic ghost story novel. It was a Publishers Weekly "Pick of the Week," and has been described as an "ambitious" (Los Angeles Times), "cinematic" (Kirkus Reviews) and "gulpable" "psychosexual odyssey" (Vogue) that is "both epic and intimate" (LA Weekly). The novel has been translated into Dutch, Turkish and Polish.
She was a 2016 Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow and a 2017 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow. Her film Shirkers made its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival where she won a Directing award. Shirkers was acquired by Netflix as a Netflix Original Documentary and will premiere globally on Netflix in Fall 2018.
Shirkers has earned enthusiastic reviews in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The New Yorker, Film Comment, The Guardian (5/5 star review), and was included in several Best Of Sundance lists, including The Hollywood Reporter, Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Pasadena, California and was named one of Variety's "10 Documakers to Watch" of 2018 and one of Indiewire's "20 Rising Female Directors of 2018".