Personal Statement
       "Film-Making is a Matter of Life and Death"


Applicant:XXX (China Media University)

Program: PhD/Master's in Film Production

Film-Making is a Matter of Death
In 20XX, I participated in producing two documentaries in Tibet, known as the ridge of the world. At an altitude of 4500 meters above the sea level and in dire coldness, we shot pictures at the celebrated Kekexili Natural Preservation Zone where Tibetan antelopes, already an endangered species, are unscrupulously hunted and their fur smuggled to Europe to make the world’s lightest, most expensive, yet the warmest scarves. Serious altitude reactions soon assaulted me, and I was diagnosed as suffering from encephaledema, fatal under many circumstances. However, in two days I was on another mission, doing a documentary of the Yalu Tsangbo River Valley. According to the plan, the expedition was to take 4 days but the pristine harsh conditions made the plan impossible. It was raining and there were landslides. In my physical exhaustion, the camera became heavier and heavier in my hand. The 4-day expedition was extended into a week and in the last two days we were virtually on the verge of starvation. When we did return to civilizations, we came up with two greatest documentaries of the year about two unpopulated but the most shockingly beautiful places of the country. Film-making is a life-consuming mission and true film-making is born out of a readiness to sacrifice life.

Film-Making is a Matter of Life
However, film-making can also be life-giving, with its unparalleled visual power. In the summer of 20XX, together with 7 classmates, I went on the “Western Sunshine Campaign”, a voluntary program, in a village in the western province of Shaanxi. It was one of the poorest villages in China, with less than 40 U.S. dollars of per capita annual income. The village school was taught by a farmer almost as illiterate as the kids themselves. We took over the teaching and I became an English teacher. In addition, I was responsible for showing films two times a week with the moveable projector we brought with us. I made a documentary of the event, which was distributed by China 21st-Century Education Development Research Institute to be shown at 30 major universities in the country and in the Travel Channel. China Central Television (CCTV) and several major print media also covered our voluntary project and the village itself. When I returned to the village for a revisit this year, it is almost completely changed—there is booming tourism, running water, electricity. With the money earned, the village kids can afford education in a standard township school dozens of miles away. Undoubtedly, they will have a different destiny from that of their parents. My belief in the power of pictures as a destiny changer grew into a conviction.

Film-Making is a Matter of Intrepid Subjectivity in Search for Truth
“Are there prostitutes in China?” asked an American journalist when interviewing Zhou En-lai, China’s former premier, in the wake of the U.S. and China’s normalizing of diplomatic relations in 1979. “Yes, in Taiwan” was the answer. Now, even after several decades, the government authorities still deny prostitution in a country under the communist rule when prostitution is actually a known secret. Remembering the ideal of film-making as impartial observation and documentation, I did a documentary of the red light districts in China as a course project. I believe film-makers should combine two essential qualities—innocence and sophistication. The innocence should lead you to spontaneously articulate what you observe, like the little child about the Emperor’s new dress. The sophistication requires you to think independently and profoundly about all the diverse and complicated social phenomena, exercise your judgment, and discriminate between what things appear to be or what people claim and what things actually are. At the same time, you must be prepared to meet risks for voicing your political and social dissent, for the sake of being true to your observing eyes, your independent mind, and your thinking heart. The truth is located in your intrepid subjectivity.

Film-Making is a Matter of Intellectual Odyssey
I started my intellectual odyssey in film-making with my undergraduate program in TV Directing at the Art Department of School of Film and Television, Communication University of China. My academic background at the most prestigious TV and film institution is particularly geared to your program in film production as both TV and film essentially appeal to the audience through visual and audio vocabulary. Many accomplished film-makers in present-day China and Hong Kong who have won international awards in film production, like Xiaogang Feng, Kar-wai Wang and John Woo, commenced their career with TV directing. Their success stories illustrate how I can also achieve a potential success in film-making.

Academically, I have done systematic coursework in directing and production—my GPA of 85.2/100 points to my very positive academic performance. In particular, I have achieved highest scores for all the courses that require a high level of creativity—Documentary Creation, Literary Creation, Multimedia Creation, and Radio Show Creation—in which I have had ample liberty to allow my imagination to soar, producing only what I deem to be the best and the most original with the limited time and cost. In my practices both on and off the campus, I have assumed various roles as director, cameraman, scenarist, editor, coordinator, correspondent, and even actor. My productions involve MV, mini-drama, experimental pieces, documentaries, travelogues, commercials, radio shows. My greatest campus achievements are working as general director of the 10th Drama Evening (the climax of the Student Art Festival in 2005 that attracted over 2000 audience), organizer and director of the video show of the creative works by different classes, the organizer of the First VVLOG Mobile Phone Video Show featuring 300 participating works from over a dozen universities in Beijing, chairman of the University DV Society, the first and the largest of its kind on the campus. Some of my works have won major prizes in national or intercollegiate competitions and have been shows on leading electronic media like CCTV.

Through my own initiative, I have been pretty much involved in the country’s TV industry. I have been the editor and photographer of the “Traveler Program” of China Travel Channel whose style and operations are akin to DISCOVERY. As an interning director of the premier talk show program “A Date with Lu Yu” at Phoenix Satellite Television, I learned how to control the narrative structure and rhythm in two programs produced. Finally, I am a partner of the Personal Video Studio which is devoted to producing commercials for local corporate organizations. My intellectual pursuit consists of tremendous diversity, which should be viewed as comprehensive preparations for a film-making career.

Film-Making is a Matter of Making a Choice
In recent years, leading Chinese film directors are making their way into the international arena by producing films with international capital. While creating box-office records and even winning international awards, almost all of them have received sharp criticisms by the Chinese audience for excessive concern with the merely ostensible rather than the real world. I believe film-making is a serious art of social significance. It is about human values, about cathartic human experiences like my voluntary service at the impoverished village, about a unique way of perceiving and representing the world, about articulating genuine ideas through visual images, and about setting the audience thinking and changing our world. This is how I understand about film-making and how I would pursue my future film-making career.

Film-Making is a Matter of Learning from the Best
I am determined to live and die for film-making, therefore I am determined to seek excellence in the profession by seeking the MFA program at x x x University’s Department of Film and Media Arts. As the foremost program in alternative film and video, your program is a creative laboratory for producing works of social significance and artistic merit and seeks to produce graduates who challenge the current practices of Hollywood and commercial television. Such ideals are closely geared to my artistic temperament and outlook. I am particularly excited over the fact that your program encourages openness to all media art forms, with special emphasis on contemporary documentary, independent narrative, and works arising out of both an artistic and social consciousness. I am convinced that this is the program I am looking for and, vice versa, I am the kind of candidate that your program is looking for.

         个 人 陈 述



申请人: XXX  (中国传媒大学)     






        “中国有色情业吗?”在中美刚刚建交之后,据说一名美国记者这么问中国的一位领导人。这位领导人巧妙地答道:“有,在台湾。” 然而,即使在数十年后的今天,中国官方也很少正视作为一个社会主义国家内所存在的色情行业,虽然它现在已经成为了一个公开的秘密。我始终坚信,电影的制作就是不偏不倚的观察与记录,于是我制作了一部关于真实的中国红灯区纪录片,以此作为我的一项课堂作业。我认为电影制作人应该同时兼备两种品质:单纯和深邃。单纯会使他见到什么就表达什么,如同《皇帝的新衣》中那个纯真的孩子。深邃则需要他独立而深刻地思索社会上各种繁杂的现象,锻炼自己的判断能力,从事物的表面以及他人所作的宣称中,分辨出事物的本来面目。同时,要做到对自己探索的双眼、独立的头脑和思考的心灵保持真诚。为此,他就需要准备着,在发表自己不同意见和社会主张时遭遇各种危险。











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