Sep 27 - Oct 14, 2018

Asian Film Academy 2018

2012 Dean's Letter


When I turned nineteen years old, there was a huge student protest movement in China. When this “Tiananmen Square Protests” ended with failure, it saddened many young people, including myself. That year, I drowned myself in literature and even wrote a novel. Later, I was fascinated with paintings. However, in the end, I was convinced that what I really wanted to do was to make a film.

Even today, I often feel anxious. Social problems triggered by intense political fluctuation, psychological state of individuals, or the simple truth of life given by the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death make me become aware about the difficulties that we are faced with every minute of our lives. However, even these troublesome moments had fueled my desire to express. For that reason, filmmaking has become my work for life.

Although film only has a history of barely over a hundred years, the work that you are about to dedicate yourself to can be said to be something that’s been done for a very long time. We are storytellers like those from the ancient past, artists who conveyed epics through spoken words and ancestors who groomed and handed down folktales from generation to generation. Film is a means of communication for human beings in this Age of Science. And, what film ultimately wants to deliver is the experience of human existence.

Film, as a way of remembrance, writes history of each nation. On the other side of this grand mission, there lies the fact that the film requires the author to give a truthful and insightful documentation. The dignity and worth of a work is only revealed when one’s own perspective and freedom are sincerely respected and trusted. Under the economic constraints and political pressure, through film, we can be a last-standing sole rebel against negligence and darkness of our times.

Without saying a word, we can clearly recognize the environment in which someone has lived in by looking at his way of eating or his manner of walking. I have always believed that film has the ability to go far beyond the written words. In addition, film can show the beauty of life through that ability. Even an illiterate can appreciate films spoken in different languages from different countries. I often find the great charm of films in other directors’ works. Sometimes, unconventional characters, impressive description of space, or subtle shift in time can make films very attractive. The diversification of forms of expression in film is like a road that never ends. As a filmmaker, looking for a new possibility in film forms indicates the realization about other new ways of understanding the world. We should be ambitious about achieving a level of aesthetics in film and discover the potentials and transitions in film through various technical skills.

Such charming aspect of films has offered me opportunities to live a unique life. I would like to live a nomadic life wandering all across the world. I also enjoy working with people in various fields. Film has allowed me to travel to unfamiliar territories where I gazed at thunderstorms, mountains, rivers and the vast land. Film has taught me to continue to be passionate about communicating with people and let me keep my curiosity toward life. Even at this moment, I am curious about who you are and why you have come to choose filmmaking.

I am looking forward to the days with you at Asian Film Academy.

JIA Zhangke
Asian Film Academy 2012