Shawn Snyder, Atsuko Hirayanagi, Kirsten Tan, Jason Begue and Shirlyn Wong
In partnership with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Sundance Institute has launched its fourth FilmTwo Initiative, and five of 13 FilmTwo Fellows this year are from Grad Film: alumni Atsuko Hirayanagi, Shawn Snyder, Kirsten Tan and Shirlyn Wong; and second-year student Jason Begue. As fellows, the five will participate in two days of workshops and mentoring sessions to help develop their second features.
As one of IndieWire's "20 Rising Female Filmmakers You Need to Know,’ Hirayanagi has made her work known in the festival circuit. Her thesis short film "Oh Lucy!" has won over 30 awards around the world, and the feature-length film she developed from the short went on to be nominated for Best First Feature at the 33rd Independent Spirit Awards.
Filmmaker Magazine named Snyder one of "25 New Faces of Independent Film." Since completing his studies at Grad Film in 2015, Snyder has had his shorts "Festus" and "Lulu" screen in multiple festivals. His first feature, To Dust, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, where the film won the Narrative Audience Award and Snyder was helmed as the Best New Director. Snyder is also serving as an Alumni Mentor for current third-year students in the Grad Film Program.
Tan's debut feature, Pop Aye, was certainly an impressive way to kickstart her filmmaking career. The film premiered as the Opening Night film of the World Cinema Dramatic competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Prize. Along with earning numerous awards in festivals across the globe, Pop Aye was invited to represent Singapore in the Best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards.
With an MFA in Film and TV Production from NYU Tisch Asia, Wong has produced a number of acclaimed shorts. Her short film “Love’s Routine” was the winner of Jameson First Shot in 2013 and starred Oscar-nominated actor Willem Dafoe. Her other short films, “Baomu” and “The Mobile Stripper,” have had official selections and won awards at many international festivals.
Having won the 1999 CineVegas Youth in Film competition, Begue's talent for filmmaking started early. His undergraduate thesis film "Contrition" won VisionFest's 2010 Most Promising Filmmaker Award. Begue also co-wrote the screenplay To Dust with Snyder, and he co-produced the feature as well. He is currently completing his second year at Grad Film.
Read more about Hirayanagi, Snyder, Tan, Wong and Begue and their roles as fellows on Sundance.