It could be said that one sign of a prosperous society is the number of artists it’s able to produce. Think about ancient Greece, Florence in the early years of the 15th century, New York in the 20th century, etc. People have more time to be creative if money is flooding in. Beijing is no exception. It was reported by China Daily last week that a record amount of high school graduates have applied for positions in the top two performing art schools in China.
This year, more than 45,000 students will be taking the Beijing Film Academy entrance exam. 10,000 aspiring thespians will compete to gain admission in a department that will only except 50 applicants.
In addition to becoming an actor or actress, many students are also applying for the school’s directing, scriptwriting, production, and editing departments, of which the admission rates are just below .5 percent.
The Beijing Film Academy is one of the most prestigious acting schools in the country and has produced some of the most famous stars and directors in China, including Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Jiang Wu, and Huang Bo. Another school that is currently seeing a surge in applicants is the Shanghai Theater Academy, where over 6,000 will compete for the 50 places in the acting department.
China Daily mentions that this surge of interest in media and performing arts corresponds to the rapid rise of film and online video in China. Box office revenue surged 13.4 percent in 2017 to RMB 56 billion, with domestic films contributing 53.8 percent, according to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). In the first half of last year a staggering 5,000 internet film, series, cartoon, and documentaries were registered with SAPPRFT.