“Beijing Film Academy in Search of Individuation” is a qualitative research
aiming to study instructional curriculum of Beijing Film Academy (BFA) , social
context, and other environmental factors, such as the quality of BFA students,
instructors, and executives, including related physical factors. The Concept of
Individuation of Gilbert Simondon and A Theory of Practice of Pierre Bourdieu,
including the Concept of Knowledge and Power of Michel Foucault is used as a
framework for this study. Data collection is conducted by documentary research, indepth interview and analysis of BFA students’ film thesis evaluated by six experts.
The purposes of this study are 1) to examine the individuation of film
curriculum of BFA as a discipline, 2) to find the relationship between BFA’ s
individuation and quality of BFA students’ film work, and 3) to study external or
environmental factors affecting film education in BFA. The research finds that BFA’s
curriculum that views film a discipline composes of individuation in many factors.
Student factor: fundamental knowledge and skill in art, including potential and
competence in film studying is required for qualified students besides their high
examination scores. BFA selects its students with four – round direct examination in
which losers are eliminated in each round, and gaokao exam scores are used as
supporting criteria for the later selection. Artistic capital embedded in BFA students in
combination with other factors BFA designs as its own individuated attribute enable
BFA graduates to produce good quality films. Their perspective and skill are even
developed and enlarged by their learning from film professionals. Although BFA gives
financial support for students to produce hard cinema, soft- cinema movies are still
witnessed. Furthermore, almost all students’ films are rather costly and require high
investment in setting, props, costumes, computer graphic and technology, travel cost,
etc. This is owing to economic capital of BFA students whose families have good
BFA designs other factors to establish its own individuation. These factors are
1) the selection of teachers by their background in film profession. 2) The organization
of film curriculum structure subdivided into 16 areas and emphasizing actual practices
rather than academic knowledge from the memory by rote. 3) The creation of film
culture climate enhancing students’ creativity to produce their work fully. 4) The
invitation of film professionals from film circle around the world. 5) The arrangement
of international film festivals and 6) short – film contests.
As BFA is a part of Chinese educational system, it needs to comply with
educational policies of Chinese government. In addition, the curriculum structure needs
to respond to the economic development of the country by focusing on the number of
graduates rather than the quality. Most of all, BFA must be under the surveillance of
the General Secretary of the Communist Party Committee of BFA, who is a Communist
Party representative. On the other hand, the government wants to push BFA to produce
film professionals to serve for the political purpose of Communist Government.
Therefore, film professionals delivered by the government to help BFA produce further
more film professionals are those with high knowledge and expertise in film art.
All of these are main factors facilitating BFA to be able to maintain its balance
of “being a film academy that requires high creativity and freedom in producing artistic
work” and “being a part of the educational institute under the governance of Socialism
Communists”. Consequently, BFA at one side needs to remind its students of the strict
censorship laws of the Chinese government, and at another side, it encourages the
students to exert their full creativity to produce various kinds of movies to increase their
film professionalism. In other words, BFA complies with government policies that
have no effect on its film education unconditionally but negotiates with those affecting
the quality of its film instruction.