At Home with Filmmaker and Graphic Designer Yen Tan
Filmmaking is a tough business. Filmmaker Yen Tan says that his double minority status as a gay Asian man makes the idea of doing it alone feel especially overwhelming. Happily, he’s not alone — he’s a member of the thriving independent film community in Austin, Texas.
Austin is the closest thing there is to the center of American independent film. Richard Linklater (writer and director of Slacker, one of the original low-budget indy movies) co-founded the Austin Film Society in 1985, and today the SXSW Film Festival plays an important role in promoting indy films.
When Tan was a kid in Malaysia, “it was not an environment where artistic sensibilities were nurtured,” he remembers. He came to the United States as a college student, picked up a digital video camera, and never looked back. Since his college days, he has released films (Ciao, Pit Stop, and 1985) and a PSA (Until We Could), all of which have been critically acclaimed.
Tan is also known for his graphic design. “I am as passionate about designing posters for other filmmakers as I am about filmmaking,” he says. Tan uses Adobe applications for both his film and design work. “I feel like I grow every day because I do it every day. The more you work on the craft, the better you are at it.”