A Mysterious Disappearance Brings A Scrapbook to Life
Netflix has released the first trailer for Shirkers, a documentary about Sandi Tan, Jasmine Ng, and Sophie Siddique’s mission to find their long-lost student film and their director, who mysteriously disappeared with the footage. The movie was written by Tan in the early 1990s and filmed when she was a teenager, posing as a punk rock feminist slasher film. She also starred in the movie as a girl who goes around killing men out of boredom. Tan’s aim was to take a deeper look at youth energy, creativity, and alienation, but all of her hard work and energy were wasted once the film was stolen.
Shirkers was a Singapore-made 1992 independent film that could have gone on to be a worldwide classic had it not been stolen by enigmatic American collaborator and director Georges Cardona. Over two decades after Cardona disappeared, Sandi Tan, now a novelist living in Los Angeles, returns to the country of her youth and to the memories of a man who both enabled and trashed her dreams. The result is Tan’s scrapbook of the making of the film and the fallout afterwards coming to life in the documentary.
Sandi Tan, Jasmine Ng, and Sophie Siddique had plenty of their own behind-the-scenes footage along with a bunch of notes that they took from the early 1990s when they were making the film, which plays a big role in setting up the documentary. Shirkers takes interviews with the women and discusses their experiences making the movie at such a young age under the tutelage of Georges Cardona. The trailer teases at the mystery surrounding Cardona’s disappearance with the 16mm cannisters and it looks like a fascinating story for fans of any genre of film.
Shirkers premieres October 26th on Netflix and will get a limited theatrical release as well at that time. The documentary had its world premiere earlier this year at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival which earned Sandi Tan an award for World Cinema Documentary Directing Award. As a result, the movie has gotten a lot of attention, and will gain a lot more once Netflix starts streaming it later next month. There will also be some select screenings this weekend in New York City at Rooftop Films.
Directed, written and produced by Sandi Tan, Shirkers was produced by Jessica Levin and Maya Rudolph, co-edited by Lucas Celler and Kimberley Hassett, photographed by Iris Ng, with an outstanding original score by Ishai Adar. The mystery of the missing footage is obviously solved since the women use a lot of it in the documentary, but how did they track down Georges Cardona, and why did he sabotage their dreams in the first place? Those are the questions that are begging to be answered in the trailer for Shirkers, which you can watch below, thanks to the Netflix streaming YouTube channel.