Film education champions the idea of students being creators who can thrive in a collaborative environment.
Producing films is not a solitary craft, thus, networking and industry exposure are vital for success.
Building on this belief, Taylor’s University (Taylor’s) School of Media and Communication has struck a partnership with the Beijing Film Academy’s (BFA) Modern Creative Media College on Jan 7.
With the signing of the memorandum of understanding, Taylor’s became the only university in Southeast Asia to partner with BFA, whose alumni include Zhang Yimao, Chen Kaige, Liu Yifei and local talent Chiu Keng Guan, who directed blockbusters Ola Bola and The Journey.
Taylor’s deputy vice-chancellor and chief academic officer Professor Dr Pradeep Nair said the partnership supported aspiring Malaysian filmmakers to reach greater heights.
“Not only will the exposure to a global curriculum enable our students to gain unparalleled experience, but they will also be able to network with industry professionals at an international level,” said Pradeep.
The partnership includes the offering of a dual bachelor’s degree awarded by Taylor’s and BFA, integrated (3+1) master’s and PhD programmes, the appointment of visiting professors, research collaborations and garnering international participation in Taylor’s University Film Festival 2020.
Taylor’s Digital Media Production lecturers and students will be participating in the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival in May.
Following this partnership, Taylor’s and BFA are also slated to work together for the Chinese Canadian Film Festival.
According to Pradeep, while technological advancements have democratised filmmaking, not everyone has the knowledge and experience to propel themselves to greatness.
“I believe that students are motivated by the passion to create, tell stories and capture the stories in motion.
“As an educational institution, we have a responsibility to help them realise their passion.
“Our students can spend one semester at BFA. Meanwhile, the 3+1 programme will enable BFA students to take postgraduate courses from Taylor’s in China before completing their studies in Malaysia,” he said.
BFA Modern Creative Media College vice-president Professor Dr Wang Chenglian said the integrated programme was rewarding for students.
“In China, it usually takes seven years to graduate with a master’s. The 3+1 programme will enable them to complete their bachelor’s and master’s in a shorter time.”
Having worked with the New York Film Academy, BFA strives to promote academic and cultural exchanges.
BFA Modern Creative Media College dean Professor Dr Lu Bin, who will be the first visiting professor to Taylor’s under the collaboration in June, said films are a form of visual communication that can build bridges.
“Our aim is to cultivate young filmmaking talents in China and other countries to strengthen international cooperation.”
Present were Taylor’s Social Sciences and Leisure Management Faculty executive dean Professor Dr Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan, School of Media and Communication head Dr Latiffah Pawanteh and BFA Modern Creative Media College Media Management Department programme leader Professor Ji Wei.