In a first for the campus, a Cal State Northridge graduate student has been awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious Beijing Film Academy that has produced many of China's most renowned filmmakers.
Angus McNelis of CSUN's Radio-TV-Film Department will be a senior visiting scholar during 1999-2000 in the academy's directing program. McNelis chose the academy from a list of various Chinese universities available through the 1999 Chinese Government Scholarship program. McNelis is among only a handful of university students in California this year to receive the prestigious China scholarship and the first ever at CSUN. Graduates of the Beijing Film Academy where he will be studying include such famed film directors as Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige.
"I'm very interested in Chinese film, but my emphasis and focus is more on filmmaking at an international level. I've worked on Los Angeles films, and I've been involved in collaborations with people of distinct cultures working together," McNelis said.
The scholarship was awarded by the China Scholarship Council of the Ministry of Education in China. CSUN received one of the scholarships because of the university's long history of educational interaction with China, spearheaded by the programs of CSUN's own China Institute.
McNelis, who attended Vassar College as an undergraduate, was chosen for the China scholarship because of his strong academic background and his proficiency in the Chinese language. He also is fluent in Japanese, and has worked in the Japanese television industry in Tokyo for five years.
The CSUN graduate student has a wealth of professional experience in films produced in Los Angeles. His career in the independent film industry includes credits both as producer and editor.
"What I hope to receive is an insight into recent Chinese cinema and how that cinema has evolved up to the current period, because Chinese society is in such tremendous growth," McNelis said. "I hope to be able to develop concepts of approaches to projects that can be worked on collaboratively with filmmakers," he said.
Justine Su, director of CSUN's China Institute, said Chinese authorities chose Northridge for the scholarship this year over UCLA and other Southern California universities because of CSUN's strong ties with China. Those include the more than 70 visiting scholars and students from China that CSUN has sponsored in the past two years.
Founded in 1982, CSUN's China Institute has been influential in arranging educational and cultural activities and exchanges between China and the United States. As a result, CSUN through the years has entered into dozens of educational exchange agreements with institutions in China.
"The China Scholarship Council will consider offering CSUN one or two such scholarships each year as long as we can generate strong applicants," Su said.
Future scholarship candidates at CSUN, Su added, must be undergraduate or graduate students in any discipline, have strong interest in the Chinese language and culture, and must have some training in the Chinese language.
Campus officials involved in pursuing the scholarship for CSUN included Su and China Institute executive committee members; Mack Johnson, associate vice president of graduate studies, research and international programs; Judith Marlane, chair of CSUN's Radio-TV-Film Department, and John Charles, assistant director of international programs. Campus officials worked with E Xuewen, education consul from the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, on the effort.
McNelis recently departed for China and will return to CSUN this July to complete his master's degree studies.
Public Affairs Offices/Campus News