These visionary auteurs from Asia’s Most Influential list are training the spotlight on Asian filmmaking, talent and creativity. At the Cannes Film Festival, they have presented stories rooted in reality, whether grim or hopeful—and have brought home several of its most prestigious awards. Beyond Cannes, they continue to expand their portfolio and explore the new world of streaming, while also supporting Asian films and pursuing dream projects.
Anthony Chen, Singapore
At 38, director and producer Anthony Chen has had a decorated film career. His debut feature film, Ilo Ilo, premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and won the Caméra d'Or, which is awarded to the best first film from the year’s selection. Chen followed up the triumph with distinguished movies under Giraffe Pictures, the boutique film company he co-founded as an international label for emerging Asian filmmakers. Chen produced the Singapore-based outfit’s Distance (2015) which opened the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, along with Pop Aye (2017); and directed Wet Season (2019), which won several awards at international film festivals. Further promoting Asian stories, Giraffe’s upcoming projects embrace movies across the region: Ajooma from South Korea, Some Nights I Feel Like Walking from the Philippines, This City Is A Battlefield from Indonesia and Arnold Is A Model Student from Thailand.
While on lockdown, the filmmaker remotely shot The Break Away from the basement of his London home. The short was part of the seven-segment movie The Year of the Everlasting Storm, which debuted at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. His next project Drift has, according to Deadline, cast Academy Award-nominee Cynthia Erivo as its lead. The film, which is Chen’s English-language debut, chronicles the struggles of a Liberian refugee in Greece.