Kay Niuyue Zhang
MFA, Film and Television Production '21
What inspired you to want to study the cinematic arts?
I’m inspired to study the cinematic arts because it was absolutely liberating for me as someone who grew up in the rigid Chinese education system. Watching films, especially those from the “west”, feels like an escape. As I grew older, however, I realize that not only did I start to think as a storyteller, I also started to think about how Hollywood impacted me as a foreigner. SCA provided me with a strong industry atmosphere and a vibrantly diverse group of peers. I’m really thankful.
What scholarship award(s) did you receive directly from SCA?
I received the James Bridges and Jack Larson Directing Scholarship.
What has been the impact of receiving a scholarship from SCA?
A direct impact is that I could make more films and gain more practice. We all know one needs to be able to invest in his or her filmmaking career as a student, which usually takes forms as loans from the government and our parents. The more practice we have as student filmmakers, the more prepared we are in the industry. Generous donors provided me with opportunities to spend a little more on the films I make —— use a better camera, hire a better stunt coordinator, and all these things add up.
What has been your favorite class or project at SCA thus far?
My favorite class at SCA is The Pitch Class with professors Gail Katz and Eric Freiser.
What is a meaningful experience you’ve had while at SCA?
The most meaningful experience was pitching myself to become a DP for a CTPR 546: Production film. I felt heavy pressure but also grew so much from the experience. Learning to present yourself, as a professional, and as a great collaborator is one of the most important things SCA has taught me.
What are your goals after graduation?
I’m planning to develop a feature and currently applying for grants both in the U.S. and China.
What advice do you have for prospective students looking to apply to SCA?
My only advice is GO ON SETS! Always go and help your peers. I learned an incredible amount of knowledge and gained longstanding friendships with people I knew from film sets.