Tan is known for his low budget films, highly localised treatment of Singaporean issues and the liberal use of Singlish in his films. All his film titles consist of commonly spoken Hokkien words. He has directed music videos for popular Singaporean bands Rudra, Lunarin, Zero Sequence and Documentary in Amber, and has been named by The Straits Times Life! as one of Singapore's "most exciting young talents". His films Tak Giu and Zo Pen are used in the course "Singapore Literature & Culture II" at Nanyang Technological University.
Kwa Giu (Watch Football) - A tribute to the National Stadium
Kwa Giu is a documentary about the electrifying atmosphere of the Kallang Roar. It was filmed at the Kallang National Stadium during the AFC Cup Final (Singapore vs Thailand) on 31 January 2007. Kwa Giu is a tribute to the Stadium which is slated to be demolished.
Zo Hee (Make Movie)
Zo Hee, the sequel to Zo Gang, was specially commissioned by The Substation Moving Images and premiered at The Substation during Moving Images' 10 years anniversary celebrations, and includes cameos by prominent Singapore film-makers such as Juan Foo, Tan Pin Pin, Sun Koh, Kristin Saw and Lionel Chok.
Zo Gang (Go Work)
Zo Gang, his 3rd short film about a struggling filmmaker wannabe, has received rave applause from Hougang to Berlin. The film includes parodies and references to Quentin Tarantino, Eric Khoo, Jack Neo, Electrico, Royston Tan. It includes cameos of musicians from the Singapore rock scene such as Linda Ong from Lunarin and Patrick Chng of The Oddfellows.
Zo Peng (Go Army)
In November 2005, Tan's 2nd film, Zo Peng (Go Army), won 2nd place at the Panasonic/MDA Digital Film Fiesta, and in 2008 received Jury Prize for Short Film from Asian Film Archive. In Singapore males are required to serve two years of mandatory army training as part of their national duties. Zo Peng postulates a future where females are similarly required to serve two years of mandatory army training. The film re-genders the issue of national duty and military service in a light hearted comic treatment. Some[who?] have criticised the film as being male-centric as it is told from a male's perspective albeit with female characters.
Tak Giu (Kick Ball)
In land scarce Singapore, the lack of playing spaces has restricted the development of local soccer talents as young children have difficulties sourcing for fields for soccer practices. Shot in 7 days with a borrowed camera, Tak Giu critiques the lack of playing spaces in Singapore in the context of the nation's drive to enter the World Cup Finals in 2010. Two years after Tak Giu was released, 284 State fields were upgraded and opened for public recreation. Tak Giu gathered over 100,000 internet views.
- Hosaywood interview of Tak Giu star Stanley Huang
- Sinema, Signgapore films showcase * resource, "Jacen Tan's films & Seletar Airbase @ Sinema at Timbré"
- The Void Deck, "Flash: Spore Short Cuts"
- Straits Times", "New fund for first-time film-makers"
- Football Association Singapore, "SLA improves 284 fields for community use"
- Baey Shi Chen, Theresa Tarpey and Terry Ong (3 April 2009). "The Next Frame – Online Maverick: Jacen Tan, director". IS Magazine. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "Making films, the Jacen Tan way". Sinema. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- "Zo Hee (Make Movie)". Toronto Singapore Film Festival. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Lizard, Lounge. "Interviews: documentary in amber". Aging Youth. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- Course Instructor: Lim Lee Ching. "HL208: Singapore Literature & Culture II". Nanyang Technological University. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "WINNERS OF THE DIGITAL SHORT FILM (OPEN CATEGORY)" (PDF). Media Development Authority. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 December 2005. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- "The Asian Film Archive Young Jury Awards 2008". Asian Film Archive. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Chuan, Ng Khoon (19 July 2005). "Screw it, Just Do it!". Youth.SG. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Lim, Chen (2005). "Interview With Producer / Director of 'Tak Giu'". sgfootball.com. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "S'pore Land Authority makes 284 state fields available for public use". Channel News Asia. 10 November 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "Members of Hosaywood: Stanley Huang". 26 May 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "Jacen Tan's films & Seletar Airbase @ Sinema at Timbré". Sinema. 9 March 2007. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "Flash: Spore Short Cuts". The Void Deck. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- Lay, Yeo Ghim (14 June 2008). "New fund for first-time film-makers". asiaone.com. Straits Times. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- "SLA improves 284 fields for community use". Football Association Singapore. Retrieved 1 June 2009.