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SIS Senior Pursues Passion in Filmmaking
Posted 01/18/2018 10:28AM

Just a senior, Virginia Li's future career path is clear. At the urging of her IB English teacher, Mrs. Dowty, Virginia submitted two short films to the Southern China Film Festival. Her film, The Girl in the Other Room was selected as a finalist among hundreds of entries. "Virginia is a very mature student who independently taught herself filmmaking techniques. Her coursework at Harvard helped build and refine her understanding of the craft. It's a joy to see how her learned skills combine with her natural instincts to create such wonderful, original films," clarified Mrs. Dowty.

Honing her skills as a filmmaker at Harvard's summer school last year, Virginia attended the University of Southern Californina (USC) this summer to further develop her passion. Not one to take it easy, she enrolled in 3 college level courses over her seven weeks at USC, taking film editing, film making and a course that focused on the business side. The courses gave her a practical look at what the industry looks like on a day to day basis and featured guest speakers that were able to provide first hand insight. One of her professors was an editor of the popular tv series, Vampire Diaries, who taught her about conflict and emotions.

In a way, you can say Virginia has already started her career. In addition to being a finalist at the Southern China Film Festival, last year she began filming seniors in a series of videos called "SIS Snaps" as a way to approach older students. Filming them provided a common ground and allowed her to form bonds with the other students. This year, Virginia is also filming teachers. "SIS Snaps could only happen at SIS because of the small community and the willingness of the community to open up," explained Virginia. "At SIS we are able to do a lot of cool things because we have the support of the teachers, especially the drama and English teachers. I really felt prepared for my classes at USC because so much of our work at SIS is project based and collaborative."

"SIS Snaps" has grown in popularity and is now a club with students from middle school and high school participating. As the president, she helps to inspire the other 22 members who also have a passion for making films. Besides teacher and student profiles, the club makes short films and documentaries. In between "directing" SIS Snaps and applying to universities, Virginia finds time in her schedule teach at a local school and act as the head chair for THIMUN.

Virginia received As in all her classes at USC and already has college credit. Now, she just has to select a university that will help her to fulfill her dreams. She is looking at liberal arts schools that have a strong film programs such as USC, UCLA, NYU and Chapman. While Virginia wants to study in the US she has not ruled out coming back to China to make films, focusing on her passion of making documentaries. We look forward to seeing much more from this award winning young director!

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