Dusk falls. A purple night shrouds the city at the foot of the hill. City lights catch the beams of the blinking stars. And the music starts, a man and a woman dancing to it take center stage. The nightbreeze spreads their dreams across the hill and into the air…

This dreamy scene must have lingered on your mind if you have seen the film La La Land.

Yula, a graduate student from Dulwich Zhuhai Class of 2022, is a huge fan of the film. Whether it is the musical genre, the dances throughout the film, or the plot that speaks of the hardships of learning the art, it all inspired her fascination with film, led her to a journey of filmmaking with optic art.


Setting foot in the realm of art: from layman to expert

Before joining Dulwich Zhuhai, all Yula knew about art came from regular lessons in public schools. Her interests and talents were yet to show, and her strength back then was physics, which was even considered an area for her further study. Knowing little about art, she was bound to hit a wall when taking her first art exam at Dulwich Zhuhai, "I didn't know how to paint at all, and I was devastated." But her art teacher saw her potential, encouraging her to keep trying.

Under the guidance of her Dulwich art teachers over the years, Yula began her exploration in art through glass painting and still life painting. After the four years of tireless study and practice, she has made remarkable progress and laid a solid foundation for her artistic future.


Inheriting the tradition of Dulwich College and pursuits of the founder Mr Edward Alleyn, Dulwich Zhuhai always considers visual and performing arts an integral part of holistic education. Yula, an outgoing, self-motivated girl, quickly involved herself in a variety of art classes and activities. 


Through continuous exploring and learning, Yula's artistic horizon broadened. Furthermore, she started to learn about video editing and soon took an interest in behind-the-scene production, which kindled her passion for filmmaking.

Going behind the scenes

Exposure to art in Dulwich Zhuhai has not just enriched Yula's observation and understanding, but also cultivated her artistic sense. Such foundation enabled her to leap towards filmmaking naturally and with ease.

Yula told her teachers about her intention to study filmmaking, "she immediately shared the story of Bea Q, our Class of 2019 alumni, for my reference. Then she guided me to adjust my subject portfolio and make preliminary plans, saving me lots of effort and avoiding detours.” 

Yula recalled, "In Year 11, I spent the entire summer holiday studying cinemaphotography, editing, screenwriting, and subplots, and I even studied my cameras."


Back in Year 10, Yula joined the Aero Modelling and Creative Studio, a creative aerial photography CCA focusing on drone photography and video production. She filmed Dulwich Zhuhai’s Sports Day for four consecutive years and took lead in an Exam Instruction video, which was her first video production and brought something different to the intense exam season that academic year. From the Halloween party teaser to the music video celebrating the 100th day of Dulwich Zhuhai’s new campus opening, Yula has occupied herself with one project after another, engaging in multiple roles, from producer to screenwriter, from art director to video editor…


In Year 12, Yula became Head Student of the Student Council and had organised several large-scale events, as well as attended external events and delivered speeches as school representative. Yula finds her experience with the Student Council invaluable, in her opinion, filmmaking is also event management in a way, with one thing closely linked to another. "Making a film involves conceiving a story, recruiting a crew, coordinating behind the scenes, mobilising the team and so on. Being a student leader enabled me to see the big picture and be a leader and team player at the same time. It would be more than helpful in my future study to become a filmmaker.”


A subject area that combines musical production with filmmaking

All the fieldwork in film production reflects Yula’s quest for art. “I'm obsessed with the artistic presentation of visual images, which can touch the viewers and drive the story forward.” Later, she revisited La La Land and more artistic films that combine musicals with dancing, citing more favorites. “Besides La La Land, I also love Whiplash, The Greatest Showman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Her, and many more. All these films, either with musical elements or the quality of art films, have clear artistic themes. Poetic as they are, the films can deeply touch our hearts.”

The movies are also the reason why Yula became even more determined to study musicals together with filmmaking in university. In Year 13, she made a point to research film scoring, analysing how the soundtrack master Hans Zimmer displayed a consistent personal style when scoring different films.

As of today, Yula has received offers to study film production from Kingston University, Bournemouth University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Birmingham City University, all well-recognised institutions in filmmaking professional study and industrial fields around the world.


As for the future, Yula looks forward to her own film production.

"In the world of film, everything is but a dream. I am so absorbed in it that I do not want to wake up. Film also offers an escape from reality, where I could tarry in another time and space for a little while. To me, a film is not just a work of art but inspires and comforts. These made up the reason why I decided to study filmmaking. Hope I can illuminate the hearts of the lost with my own works one day.”