If film dramatists and theorists are the creators of film art, the Department of Literature of Beijing Film Academy is the cradle of Chinese film makers.
The Literature Department of Beijing Film Academy has a long history and far-reaching influence in the industry of film education. For many years, it sticks to the teaching principle that the script is the root of the drama and holds the belief that it is from here that a film is born.
In 1951, Beijing Film Academy began to admit undergraduates who were studying in other universities and who were so fond of film literature (film script writing) into two-year programs of film playwriting and film editing. In 1956, the faculty of literature was founded, led by Xu Zhiqiao and Yu Qian successively. In 1960, the department began to admit students for the bachelor programs of film playwriting and film editing. After the Cultural Revolution, the Literature Department Preparation Group was set up in 1978. Literature Department was officially set up in 1982, with Shen Songsheng, Wang Di, Hu Bin, Zhong Dafeng and Liu Yibing heading the department successively.
In 1985, Literature Department officially started to enroll undergraduates in film script writing across the country for the first time, which drew the extensive attention from society. In 1987, undergraduates of film theory were formally enrolled for the first time. In 1985, master programs were offered and in 2004, PhD program started to enroll students. Hard labor has been rewarded with fruits. Up to now, the graduates from the Literature Department have spread all over the world and are active in the forefront of film and television production, working hard either in education or in publication and literary criticism. They are not only undertaking writing and directing film and television, frequently receiving various awards at famous domestic and international film and television festivals, but also a group of disciplined teachers for courses such as adapting the film, television theories and editing publications.
The teaching offered in the Literature Department is not simply restricted by the conventional lectures. More importantly, the teachers have always been sharing their practical experiences in film and television productions. With rich teaching experiences, profound theoretical knowledge and the numerous prizes in film and television productions, the faculty is regarded to be a group of highly qualified professionals full of responsibilities. Additionally, they are trusted with lots of state and provincial research projects and keep close ties with international academia.
The Department of Literature has established a whole set of advanced film teaching system in terms of teaching theory and teaching method, which fits Chinese situation well and takes the lead in the world. Every year, the department attracts students in great numbers at home and abroad. In the mean time, numerous teachers from other universities and educational institutions of higher education come here for continual education, which won the department a good reputation in the field of teaching and production.
The Department of Literature offers three kinds degree programs and non-degree programs: PhD program of Film History and Film Theory; master degree program of Film Script Writing, Film Writing Theory and Skills, Film Aesthetics, Chinese Film History, Foreign Film History, Film and Television Communication Theory and so on, and four-year bachelor degree program of Drama, Film and Television Literature. The latter includes two-year long undergraduate courses of Film and Television Writing and Directing Creation for the students graduating from junior college, two- year long senior occupational education and extension education. Moreover, the department also offers master degree program for professionals at work. The number of students of this department at school is more than 150, including various types of students in continual studies, graduates, undergraduates, students in extended education and training. Up to now, more than 1000 students have graduated from this department.
The Department of Literature also offers courses to various students from other programs in Beijing Film Academy, such as Basic Theory of Film Drama, Introduction to Drama, Film Script Theory, Theory and Skills of Film Drama, Film Aesthetics, Film Theory, Theory of Communications, Chinese Film Theory, Foreign Film History, Studies on Film Masters, Studies on Films of Some Foreign Countries, Film Genre Studies, Film Analysis and so on.