Invisible City: Filmmaker’s Talk with Tan Pin Pin

Join us in this live-streamed talk with Tan Pin Pin as we discuss history, memory and place in the context of her 2007 documentary, Invisible City, and her filmmaking practice.

Tan Pin Pin’s Invisible City is about people who looked for a Singapore for themselves, on their own terms. The director interviews people who were observers and documenters of this city, past and present. From an avid amateur film director trying to preserve his decaying trove of Singapore footage to an intrepid Japanese journalist hunting down Singaporean war veterans, Invisible City conveys how deeply personal their search is and how fragile histories based on memories are.

The filmmaker’s talk with Tan Pin Pin is presented in conjunction with the screening of Invisible City at ArtScience Museum as part of the Imaging Paradise film programme – at a particular time of the year when the past, present and future can feel like they exist all at once.

The programme will be moderated by Zhang Baoxin (Curator, Public Programmes at ArtScience Museum).


Tan Pin Pin’s films chronicle and question the gaps in history, memory and documentation. Her films study the process of self-examination itself, rendering its complexities with emotional power and visual clarity. They have screened at leading festivals including Berlinale, Hot Docs, Busan, Cinéma du Réel, Visions du Réel, SXSW and at the Flaherty Seminar.

Pin Pin has won or been nominated for more than 20 awards. In 2013, To Singapore, with Love won Best Director from Dubai International Film Festival. Invisible City (2007) won the Scam International Award at Cinéma du Réel. Singapore GaGa (2005) was voted Best Film by Singapore’s The Straits Times. Moving House (2001), her thesis film, won the Student Academy Award for Best Documentary. In 2015, her short film Pineapple Town (2015) was one of seven in the 7 Letters omnibus which was Singapore’s submission to the Oscars.

Pin Pin is on the “Asian Cinema 100” list of top 100 Directors compiled by Busan International Film Festival. She has had retrospectives at RIDM, Montreal, Dok Leipzig and Memory Film Festival, Yangon. She has been on film juries. Frequently asked to speak about her craft, she has mentored at labs like Docs Port Incheon and Yamagata Documentary Dojo and toured universities with her work including Colgate University, where she was the Global Artist-in-Residence. In 2018, she was admitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, USA.

Pin Pin is a co-founding member of filmcommunitysg, a community of independent filmmakers. She was a board member of the Singapore International Film Festival, The Substation and the National Archives of Singapore.

About Imaging Paradise
About Imaging Paradise

Come ponder the past, present and future of what a modern utopia means to local filmmakers, and how one can better understand, appreciate and preserve our collective memory through film this August in celebration of National Day.

View details

19 Aug, Fri
8pm – 8.30pm

About Invisible City

Invisible City (2007)
60 minutes | PG
English, Mandarin and Japanese with English subtitles

14, 21, 28 Aug, 4 Sep (Sun) | 2pm
Adult: S$13, Concession: S$11

Chronicling the ways people attempt to leave a mark before they and their histories disappear, director Tan Pin Pin interviews people – photographers, journalists and archaelogists – who are propelled by curiosity to find a City for themselves.

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