Xinyi Zhu

Xinyi Zhu

MFA, Film and Television Production '21

What inspired you to want to study the cinematic arts?

I've always wanted to pursue the cinematic arts in some way since high school, after studying and practicing other forms of art--sketching, Chinese painting, calligraphy, singing, keyboard, etc. I chose to study Psychology for undergrad, but started working on set after graduation, which was when I realized that I wanted to write and direct in film and other forms of cinematic arts.

What scholarship award(s) did you receive directly from SCA?

The James Bridges Directing Scholarship and the Jon M. Chu Cinematic Arts Scholarship.

What has been the impact of receiving a scholarship from SCA?

SCA is a place of many talented people and I once felt lost, doubting my abilities. I had doubts about continuing, especially because filmmaking is such a costly pursuit when starting out. Receiving scholarships gave me reassurance spiritually and support financially.

What activities or student organizations are you involved in outside of the classroom?

I was involved in Asian Pacific Alumni Association and APCA Film Festival. I also participated in the 2nd Feminist Media Festival by Women in Cinematic Arts. My film "Certain Women" got Honorary Mention.

What has been your favorite class or project at SCA thus far?

My favorite classes were CTPR 507: Production I and IML 475: Handmade Feminist Media. They were classes where I felt I learnt the most that showed me paths through which I could reach more creative freedom. My favorite project was my CTPR 546: Production III film "Kindling" during the making of which I had a truly heartfelt experience thanks to my lovely team and the professors' help.

What is a meaningful experience you've had while at SCA?

The last weeks of last semester and this semester we had online classes and made films while social distancing. It was a truly crazy experience making two music videos, a spec commercial, a short doc and a doc pitch tape during this time. Despite all the constraints that could be told in the products, I really appreciate this experience when I can look at things from a different prospective and learnt many new things.

What are your career goals after graduation?

I will be working on my independent features and tell stories that I want to tell. Meanwhile I'd love to be directing creative branded content.

What advice do you have for prospective students looking to apply to SCA?

The rules and techniques that we can learn are very important, but our individual creativity is always the key. We should all put that in the forefront and always stick to that.