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International Students Learn Filmmaking in Hollywood

The Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California.

The Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California.

Welcome to American Mosaic from VOA Learning English.

I’m June Simms.

Today on the show we learn about student filmmakers hoping to get into the movie business.

Student Filmakers

The Los Angeles area of Hollywood is the movie capital of the world. Many filmmakers go there in hopes of getting into the movie business. As ­­­­­­Catherine Cole reports, local universities are also appealing to students who hope to become producers or directors.

Ivy Lin's student film is a story of cultural differences, love and Chinese cooking. Ms. Lin is a graduate student from China's Shandong Province. She is producing the film as part of her studies at California State University, Los Angeles. But she says the work is also preparing for a career.

“I hope to do film producing or marketing in the future, especially between the US and China.”

She raised 5,000 dollars on the Internet site Indiegogo to finish production, with help from Melinda Pan and other international students.

Ms. Pan is from Beijing. She says Hollywood movies are popular in China. She says that country and the United States have many joint productions, such as Iron-Man 3.

“I think sci-fi films probably are the most popular ones because there are so many technical skills required and they have big box office in China too. But for me, I like sweet and touching stories.”

Melinda Pan's student film is a story of cultural missteps between a young property salesman in the United States and a difficult buyer from China. Ms. Pan hopes to find work as a producer or director in either country.

Film professor Bridget Murnane says Cal State LA is teaching new skills for digital media. She says it and other Los Angeles universities are attracting international students to their film programs.

“They want to come and make television and film in the heart of television and film-land, and that is Los Angeles.”

Film student Nidhin Patel, from Gujarat State, India, was also interested in the international flavor of Cal State LA.

“With your friends, with your colleagues, your classmates, there is a whole second level of learning that happens as a human being, that you explore all the cultures. That's what happens in your free time. We're always discussing, how do you do this, how does that happen?”

He says this creative interaction will prepare him for a career in the increasingly international movie industry.

I’m Catherine Cole.

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