A budding filmmaker sees stars in her future

Last December, Francesca Lou was very lucky to be offered a place at Tisch School of the Arts, and she will be studying in its film and TV program.

The school gate of Shanghai United International School

Last December, I was very lucky to be offered a place at Tisch School of the Arts, and I will be studying in its film and TV program.

Tisch School of the Arts is one of the best film schools in the United States. The Tisch College of the Arts is one of the most competitive universities in New York University and has an admission rate of less than 5 percent. It recruits only a few students each year from China. I am very grateful to our school for giving me all kinds of platforms to stimulate my potential and stand out among the tens of thousands of applicants!

As a film major student, my exploration of filmmaking didn’t start early at all. My first film was when I was in Grade 9. At the time, I was still studying in Hangzhou, so I simply just called a few friends and started filming without any form of structured planning. And it was a total failure, the film was left unedited, but I had fun.

After I came to the Shanghai United International School, I soon got involved in SWAN, a highly organized program in which students got to work with professional filmmakers. I was selected to be the director for one film called “The Translator,” and our film won the Special Jury Award a year later. However, to me, it was quite a challenge being a first-time director, and I wasn’t confident of my directing skill for the lack of experience. But as my mentor Mr Wesley said: “That’s how we roll. Always try to be a little better than we were yesterday.” I took the things I learned and went deeper into this path.

I am certainly an ungifted filmmaker, but I am stubborn and willing to devote myself to a career that probably wouldn’t take me anywhere. Later in my senior year, I made my first film “The Red Eyes.” I directed, produced, edited and filmed. Although its quality might not exceed “The Translator” or my other works, I trusted this work, and believed if the school suited for you would definitely discover the value of it! And I am glad Tisch did.

Francesca Lou is Grade 12 student at Shanghai United International School. 

I have so many other passions. I love poetry, music, sports and theater. Poetry is the way I reflected on the movies I watch. I developed this habit from Ms Sullivan’s poetry club. Once we did a Poetry Slam called “Asylum Goes to The Movies,” in which we wrote poetry from the perspective of characters in our selected films. And in my first year here, I took part in a student-organized music production. I worked with a very talented senior Jun on some of my original music, and I really had fun.

In the first two years in USHS, I wasn’t quite a sporty person. And by the start of my last school year, my friends Grace, Jolin and Annie advised me and passionately encouraged me to join the girl’s basketball team. I hesitated for a day and gladly signed up with my coach Mr Edgar. I was a new member, so in the first few months, I really needed to spend extra time on practicing basketball and catch up with the others. Then I gradually fitted in. I played in quite a few games, and I found myself really enjoying sweating and giving it all on the court with the girls.

Drama is my favorite extra-curriculum activity! Although as a first time actress, I was luckily selected by our accomplished student directors Teresa Kim and Justin Jiato to be one of the leads in “Lady Macbeth.” I worked on my acting potentials with patient guidance of Mr Manno, enjoyed the spotlight and cried my eyes dry when the show ended.

In this semester, I am co-directing “Almost Maine” with my classmate Billy Kim. We are still working day and night on the show and we sincerely look forward for the support from all of you! We decided to make the ticket price 30 yuan for the whole four nights. It will be totally worth it!

I am soon leaving for the “beautiful disease” (New York), I hope I will love it and enjoy my amazing new school!

(Francesca Lou is Grade 12 student at Shanghai United International School.)

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