BA Filmmaking


Program Description


The BA Filmmaking is a scripted-drama, and documentary practical film-making programme aimed at those who are passionate about storytelling in film. It is a rich and challenging environment for students who are keen to develop their storytelling skills to the highest level and have the passion to produce and develop new and exciting film content.

Taught within the Film School at XJTLU in Suzhou, the BA Filmmaking is a practice-based programme in all aspects of filmmaking, from the development of film craft skills, directing, producing and writing short and long-form content for the film.

The course also has critical thinking and film literacy at its core, with workshops and seminars designed to build your ability to appreciate what has gone before as you craft the stories of the future.

You will benefit from extensive industry contact, which can include working on live professional sets, becoming part of the crew on a professional production, masterclasses and expert tuition from industry practitioners. We’ll help you to develop your ideas and your creativity to the highest level, as well as offering you the opportunity to make films and tell stories.

This programme is not available on the 2+2 route.

Why Should I Study Filmmaking at XJLTU?

The development of the School of Film and Television Arts was built on the departmental research strengths in Languages, Communication and Culture. The new programme along with the Film and Television and Digital Media Arts undergraduate degrees will focus on a mix of practice, analysis, research, creativity and industry engagement.

The distinctiveness of the programme is further enhanced by its environment. Suzhou and the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) is a blend of the old, the new and the future. Suzhou will be the canvas the filmmakers will work upon showcasing its beauty whilst the SIP will allow filmmakers to come into contact with vibrant industry practitioners, creative researchers and dynamic businesses.

Practice-Based Interdisciplinary Learning

Taught by a mix of international and Chinese talent from academia and the film and television industries students will be taught in a syntegrative way where theory, practice and industry meet in the classroom and on location. The thinking will be strong as will the craft skills and knowledge of the developments in the industry at a local, national and international level. The School has an ambitious plan to develop international partnerships within both education and industry. There will be opportunities for other film students to spend a semester on the exchange, co-productions between the SoFTA film school and others in China and internationally.

XJTLU will also offer the filmmaking students the opportunity to work with like-minded students from other parts of the University. The innovative teaching practice promoted by the University will create an environment where students can benefit from the expertise and practice of other disciplines whilst specialising on their own training. Collaboration will be a core component of the new degree programme and could see the filmmaking students work with students from Industrial Design (including special FX model work), Architecture students (projects such as ‘Cityscape’ where students from filmmaking and architecture collaborate on a short visual piece of work about a local building), China Studies students to identify historical or local stories to be dramatised or made into documentaries. The potential is great.

A Complete One Stop Shop for Filmmaking

Students will also be taught using state of the art equipment ranging from RED and Arri Alexa camera systems to allow 4/5k shooting potential, AVID Media Composer editing systems, DaVinci Resolve software for colour grading, Protools for post-production audio, After FX and 3D Studio Max for special FX, professional dubbing and sound recording facilities, 4k rushes review facility, viewing cinema. The students will also have access to professional grip equipment, drones, jibs and jimmy jibs, track and dolly. All equipment used will be industry standard and in line with current industry practices.

The projects originated will be a mix of location and studio based. The studio facilities will allow both drama and variety show production on both multi-camera and single camera formats as well as motion capture and green screen special FX work.

A Unique Offering Within A Unique Learning Environment

The film industry in the 21st century is global, collaborative and requires specialist training in a specialist environment, exactly what is being offered on the BA Filmmaking programme at XJTLU.

Knowledge and Skills

The overall aims of the programme are to:

  • familiarise students with a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the filmmaking and the filmmaking process
  • develop in students a critical approach to their own and others’ film productions
  • use theoretical understanding to inform practice and practice to inform theory
  • introduce students to the range of learning methods and methodological practices appropriate to the subject area
  • produce graduates with advanced and specialist skills in filmmaking
  • produce graduates with specific knowledge(s) of production techniques, research and routines/processes within the relevant film departments
  • produce graduates whose production work is informed by, and contextualised within, relevant theoretical issues and debates
  • develop in students a high level of communication skills in the presentation of critical, creative and professional work
  • produce graduates capable of independent and questioning work in the area of film production
  • gain specific knowledge(s) of an advanced and specialist skills in professional practices, contexts and research processes within the film production industries
  • develop excellence alongside high levels of reflection in their own and in other’s practice in filmmaking
  • enable students to make a contribution in the world as artists, educators, advocates and citizens
  • enable students to take responsibility for managing and evaluating their own learning
  • foster the creative attitudes and skills needed for collaborative learning in and through practice.


Year One

UK degrees are three years long whereas in China they are four, therefore we do accept students with certain qualifications directly into Year Two, which is the start of the main academic programme. Most students, however, enter into Year One, which provides you with a range of interesting modules, language classes and core skills for your degree.

Year Two
  • Introduction to Camera/Lighting
  • Introduction to Sound
  • Introduction to Post Production
  • Introduction to Production
  • Introduction to Directing
  • Introduction to Screenwriting
  • Introduction to Film and TV
  • English Language and Study Skills III for Language and Communications
  • Introduction to Chinese Literature
  • Screenwriting for Film and TV
  • Fiction Theory and Practice
  • Documentary Theory and Practice
Year Three
  • Chinese Cinema
  • Film and TV Culture
  • Minor Film Project
  • Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature
  • Documentary Craft
  • Adaptation Across the Media
Optional Modules (pick one module from the following list):
  • Screenwriting Craft and Practice
  • Producing Craft and Practice
  • Directing Craft and Practice
  • The Art of Cinematography
  • The Art of Post-production
  • The Art of Sound
Or Optional Modules (pick two modules from the following list):
  • Experimental Film Practices
  • The Music Promo
  • China and the Digital Revolution
  • Global Media and Entertainment
Year Four

Compulsory modules:

Elective modules:


The distinctive feature of the BA Filmmaking programme at XJTLU is in its principles of creative expression, technical and craft development along with strong problem solving and critical thinking. These transferable professional employability skills will enable students to gain work in the film and television industries as well as the converged areas of advertising and promo work for both the broadcast and online platforms.

How To Apply

The BA in Filmmaking is a dynamic and international programme that aims to nurture your creative talent. For that reason, the admission process for this programme requires candidates to present evidence that reveal their creative abilities and their commitment to the field of filmmaking. In order to be admitted to our programme, we would like you to submit a creative portfolio with one of the following items:

  • 5 photographs that are personally important to you
  • A 1 to 3-minute video that means something special to you
  • A short animation piece that you have made and would like to discuss with us during the interview
  • Any drawings, sketches or paintings that you have done that illustrate your creative instinct
  • Any web design interest that you can demonstrate through web pages that you have produced
  • A piece of creative writing, such as a short story, a poem, or the chapter of a novel, that you have produced
  • Any song or music that you have composed
  • Any other creative media that demonstrate your creativity

After we study your portfolio, you will be invited for an application interview. We will discuss, amongst other topics, your portfolio and what inspired you to produce it, your favourite films and TV shows and the reasons why you like them, and what career trajectory you might have in mind.

All applicants interested in filmmaking need to also go through the regular XJTLU application process.

International applicants should submit their application via our online application system.

Once your application account is successfully created, enter all the information required in the application form carefully and make sure the information you provide is correct, complete and up to date. As mentioned, for application to the BA Filmmaking you are asked to submit a portfolio. Subsequently, you will be invited for an interview. However, please notice that you do not have to submit your portfolio during your initial application. The portfolio file can also be submitted later, after having completed and submitted the initial online application.

You may log-in to view your application form at any time.

Note: This programme is subject to final validation from the University of Liverpool.

Last updated Jan 2019

About the School

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is an international joint venture university founded by Xi’an Jiaotong University in China and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom in 2006. ... Read More

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is an international joint venture university founded by Xi’an Jiaotong University in China and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom in 2006. Read less