Netflix Buys Rights To ‘Shirkers’ By Singaporean-Born Filmmaker Sandi Tan

Singaporeans rejoice, there’s soon going to be a new local movie to add to your Netflix playlist.

Netflix confirmed on Wednesday (28 Feb) that they have acquired the rights to the movie Shirkers by award-winning Singaporean-born filmmaker Sandi Tan.


By the end of 2018, you can expect Shirkers to appear on your Netflix feeds, although we’re not sure of the exact release date.

The film is an intense roller-coaster ride of the tribulations Tan faced after her original film reels were stolen by someone close to her.

Shirkers won an international award

This is great news for the Singaporean film scene, especially since Tan won Best Director at Sundance Film Festival.

For those that don’t already know, the Sundance Film Festival is a really big deal. The festival is literally the largest independent film festival in the United States.

Every year, there are submissions from all over the world vying for the awards.

On 28 Jan, Tan was presented her award and here’s her acceptance speech:


The film has been called an “unexpected delight”, and a “joyous and funny recollection of a youth when anything felt possible”.

A documentary about her stolen movie

We bet you’re wondering what’s so interesting about Shirkers, right? Other than it being made by a Singaporean.

Well, actually, there’s way more reason for you to be excited about the film than you think.

Way back in 1992 when Tan was only 18, she set out to make an indie movie about a young female serial killer, and she was going to name the movie Shirkers.


Tan’s real-life mentor was an American man named Georges Cardona, who was also the director of Shirkers. 

After a series of unfortunate events, Tan’s mentor Cardona stole her movie and completely disappeared, so the original Shirkers film was never released.


Tan’s movie was held captive for 25 years — until Cardona passed away. Upon his death, his widow sent a box of his belongings to Tan.

Lo and behold, the box contained the 16mm film reels of the original Shirkers. 

When she finally got her film back, it ended up becoming the foundation of her award-winning documentary, Shirkers. 

The documentary adds new material to the previously stolen clips, to reflect the opportunities that were stolen from her.

Worth giving a watch

The movie definitely sounds like it’s worth a watch.

Considering that there aren’t that many Singapore-based movies available on Netflix, it’s always great to support local talent.

The footage from the original Shirkers is set in 1992 as well, so there will great footage of a Singapore before sky-scrapers and its rapid development.


Although specifics are unclear, it has been reported that the movie will be available in over 20 languages as a Netflix Original movie around the last quarter of 2018.

You can bet that we’re going to Netflix and chill when Shirkers finally debuts, as we’re excited to see if Tan’s work really lives up to the hype.

Featured image from IMDB.