Student Snapshot: Yalan Hu

Yalan Hu
MFA Production Class of 2019

Yalan Hu hails from Wuhan, China, the birthplace of the Xinhai Revolution that overthrew China’s last imperial dynasty. The only child of a traditional intellectual family, she fulfilled the family’s expectation of being an A student through her school years, while finding escape from the crushing sameness of western blockbusters through the films of Bernardo Bertolucci and Lars Van Trier. Inspired to become a rule-breaking filmmaker, she first worked as a TV director/screenwriter in China for six years to get a foot in the industry. In tackling social injustice and human hardship, she allowed her unique style of poignant humor to represent her view of society. She is now an MFA student in Film Production at Florida State University, dedicating herself to learning the rules of filmmaking so that she might break them more fully and artistically.

Favorite Movie

Il Conformista, a 1970 political drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.


Favorite Filmmaker

Bernardo Bertolucci, Lars Van Trier, Woody Allen

What did you earn your bachelor’s degree in?

I earned my undergraduate degree at Xiamen University, in China. It is ranked as the most beautiful university in China. My major was English Language and Literature, and I had a second major in Journalism and Advertising.

What are you specializing in?

My specialization is Directing, which is what I’ve always been doing and hopefully will continue doing in my future career. Filmmaking is all about teamwork in every department, but still, a director is the one who fits all the work into the same vision. I truly enjoy combining everyone’s talent into a nice piece of art.

What are you currently working on?

Currently I’m in the writing process of my thesis film, a period drama about a Chinese international scholar on an American campus in  the 1930s.

What has been your favorite class so far?

Film Aesthetics was my favorite, not for the fact that we would actually sit down and watch an entire movie together as a class, which is rare, but because I was given the chance to really UNDERSTAND why an artistic film was shot the way it was and how that makes it unique, especially compared to blockbusters.

I like this semester’s directing class a lot for its deeper discussion of directing. It is not just a discussion about filmmaking, but also how to understand human emotions in a deeper level.

What has been the best part of Film School so far?

The realization of how I’ve learned to read a film from a more professional perspective. Not just the aesthetic choice, or film language, but also how a scene came into being technically.

Which faculty member has made the greatest impression on you and how?

Keith Slade. His class is very informative, and I’m always impressed by how passionate he is about teaching and filmmaking even after years in film school. His passion is a reminder to me that one should always choose a profession she/he can be fully devoted to.

What do you think someone applying to the program should know about the FSU Film School?

FSU Film School is very project-oriented, which means you will learn the most by how much effort you are willing to put into your project. In order to deliver a good film, you will need to spend the majority of your personal time researching as much as is humanly possible.

Favorite Film School Moment?

D2 screening, when I saw the audience clapping and cheering for the hard work I’ve done. That is a wonderful experience I will never forget.


It’s late, you’re at the Film School working on something you need to finish before tomorrow: where are you and who are you with?

Very likely I won’t be at film school since we have already spent too much time there. I’ll be in a coffee shop or my apartment with my ATL, crushing every problem the show will face.