Anthony Chen

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Anthony Chen
Born (1984-04-18) 18 April 1984 (age 35)
Alma materNational Film and Television School[1]
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, film producer
Years active2005—present
Rachel Yan (m. 2009)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese陳哲藝
Simplified Chinese陈哲艺

Anthony Chen (Chinese: 陈哲艺; born 18 April 1984) is a Singaporean film director, screenwriter and film producer. He has directed two feature films Ilo Ilo (2013) and Wet Season (2019).

His debut feature film, Ilo Ilo, won the Camera d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The film also earned him the Achievement in Directing award at the 2013 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and the Golden Horse Award for Best Feature Film and Best New Director.[2]

Early life[edit]

Chen was born 18 April 1984, to Bernard and Joan Tai. Interested in film from a young age, Chen attended Nan Hua Primary School, The Chinese High School (now Hwa Chong Institution), and Ngee Ann Polytechnic. His graduating film from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, G-23 (2005), was screened in various international film festivals and won awards in France, Korea and Belgium.[3]


Short films[edit]

In 2007 and 2008, Chen went on to direct Ah Ma and Haze respectively. Both attracted favourable criticism.[4] Ah Ma was awarded a Special Mention in the short film competition at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, making it the first Singaporean film to win an award at the festival.

Following his mandatory conscription in the army, Chen was admitted to the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in the United Kingdom. Graduating in 2010, two of his short films, Distance and Lighthouse, were released that year. These were followed up with Karang Guni (2012) and Homesick (2013).[4]

Feature films[edit]

Ilo Ilo, Chen's first feature film, was released on August 29, 2013 in Singaporean theatres.[5] Chen served as director, producer, and writer.[6] According to Chen, the film was inspired by a real life maid who worked for Chen's family when he was a child.[7] After its world debut at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Ilo Ilo received a fifteen-minute long "standing ovation" and earned Chen the coveted Camera d'Or.[8] Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong noted Chen's achievement, congratulating him and the film's cast on Facebook.[9]

On 19 October 2013, Ilo Ilo went on to win the Sutherland Trophy for the Best First Film at the London Film Festival. (The same night, one of Chen's tutors at NFTS, Pawel Pawlikowski, won the Best Film Award for Ida).[10]

With Ilo Ilo, Anthony Chen also made history by becoming the first Singaporean to win Best Film and Best New Director at the 50th Golden Horse Awards. Chen also won Best Original Screenplay, while Yeo Yann Yann won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.[11][12] For Ilo Ilo, Chen was named as one of Variety magazine's annual "10 Directors to Watch".[13]

In September 2015, it was announced that Distance, an "omnibus film" for which Chen served as executive producer and writer, will open the 2015 Golden Horse Film Festival in Taiwan. Distance consists of segments by the three directors Xin Yukun, Tan Shijie and Sivaroj Kongsakul, from China, Singapore and Thailand respectively.[14]

In spring 2018, Chen began production on his second feature film, Wet Season, which reunites him with Ilo Ilo stars Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler.[15]

Personal life[edit]

In 2009, Chen married Rachel Yan, whom he met while staying in London in 2007.[4] Their son was born in August 2018.[16]


Feature films[edit]

Short films[edit]

  • G-23 (2005)
  • Ah Ma (2007)
  • Haze (2008)
  • Hotel 66 (2009)
  • Distance (2010)
  • Lighthouse (2010)
  • The Reunion Dinner (2011)
  • Karang Guni (2012)
  • Homesick (2013)


  1. ^ "Anthony Chen - Infocomm Media Development Authority". Base. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Anthony Chen". The Substation. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  4. ^ a b c LUI, JOHN. "Sensitive perfectionist". Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  5. ^ "Anthony Chen's Ilo Ilo is as real as it gets". Her World. June 4, 2013.
  6. ^ "Ilo Ilo: Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. May 19, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  7. ^ King, Susan (2014-04-11). "'Ilo Ilo' filmmaker Anthony Chen recalls the film's inspiration: Aunt Terry". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  8. ^ "S'pore film gets standing ovation at Cannes". AsiaOne. May 27, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  9. ^ Lim, Karen (May 28, 2013). "Film-maker could have been a chef". AsiaOne.
  10. ^ "Master and Pupil honoured by LFF on the same night". UK Screen. October 20, 2013.
  11. ^ "Anthony Chen wins Best New Director, Original Screenplay at 50th Golden Horse Awards". Nov 23, 2013.
  12. ^ "Three films split honours at Taiwan's Golden Horse awards". Nov 23, 2013.
  13. ^ Simon, Alissa. "10 Directors to Watch: Singaporean Auteur Anthony Chen Won Camera d'Or". Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  14. ^ Frater, Patrick. "Anthony Chen's 'Distance' To Open Golden Horse Festival". Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  15. ^ "Cannes 2019 Wish List: 50 Movies We Hope Will Make the Cut, From Quentin Tarantino to Kelly Reichardt". IndieWire. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Film-maker Anthony Chen has been busy with 'two babies'". The Straits Times. 26 December 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2019.

External links[edit]