It's a new chapter of academic exploration for the China Academy of Art. The School of Film and Animation Art, which opened in 2004, was officially separated into the School of Film Art and the School of Animation and Games on May 20.
The move aims to cultivate more professionals and develop a distinct talent-cultivation mode for the film and games industries.
"It's a big day in CAA's history. The faculty and students of the two schools will begin a new journey along new teaching roads," said Gao Shiming, headmaster of CAA.
It's also a major development for young Chinese filmmakers and cartoonists, as CAA is making efforts to reform its traditional academic modes to support more gifted students.
According to the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for the film industry unveiled by the China Film Administration, universities should reform their talent-cultivation modes and produce more original content.
"The establishment of the two new schools will optimize our academic disciplines," Gao said. "We will dig deeper into our strengths and explore a new filmmaking road with our own unique characteristics."
The School of Film Art aims to build a world-class film academy focusing on directing and cinematography. It has set up four majors, including writing and directing, filmmaking and television production, dramatic art and cinematography, and two institutions – the Institute of Poetic Cinema Research Center and the Institute of Sound Art.
Art and design will be emphasized. Unlike other filmmaking colleges, CAA will not have an acting major.
Now, the school has 361 undergraduates, 73 master's students and 11 PhD candidates. It will expand postgraduate enrollment for a faster development.
"Along with filmmaking techniques and theories, what I value most is students who are culturally conscious and critical. I hope students become the core of a creative team, which requires not only technical skills but also self-discipline and discernment," said Xu Xiaoming, dean of the School of Film Art.
The School of Animation and Games explores humanistic animation, interactive media and games, illustration and comics.
CAA's animation major has been listed as a national special program of higher education and a key subject in Zhejiang Province for years. Students study painting, visual effects, screenplays and sound effects and have won awards in domestic and international cartoon festivals.
The game design major was introduced in 2006 and has developed into a cradle for professionals in the international gaming and digital media industries.
"The gaming industry is already 10 times larger than the film and television industry. In recent years, new technologies in the gaming sector have been a shot in the arm to film and television," said Gao. "In China, games have become an educational platform for traditional culture. CAA has the best gaming and art majors in China, but we still have a long way to go to develop an ideal gaming education."
The school will introduce animation and game-design majors to mixed-reality future scenarios such as the metaverse.
In addition to academics, CAA supports young artists by hosting the Zhijiang International Youth Art Festival, which runs through June 12.
This year, the festival's theme is "Vital Force" and takes place in 10 venues, including the Zhejiang Art Museum, West Lake Gallery, Xiangshan Campus and Zhejiang Exhibition Hall.
The festival features more than 3,000 exhibits and performances from 2,500 recent CAA and Zhejiang Conservatory of Music graduates. The festival committee will issue gold, silver and copper awards to top art and design submissions.