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International Students Learn Film Production in Hollywood

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Regional universities are also a magnet for students, who hope to become producers or directors.

Ivy Lin's student film is a tale of cultural differences, romance and Chinese cooking. The graduate student from China's Shandong Province, says producing the feature - part of her studies at California State University, Los Angeles - is getting her ready for a career.

“I hope to do film producing or marketing in the future, especially between the U.S. and China,” she said.

She raised $5,000 on the Internet funding site Indiegogo to finish production, with help from Melinda Pan and other international students.

Pan, who is from Beijing, says Hollywood movies are popular in China, and that China and the United States have many co-productions, such as the upcoming Iron-Man 3.

“I think sci-fi films probably are the most popular ones because there are so many technical skills required and they have big box office in China too," she said. "But for me, I like sweet and touching stories.”

Pan's student film is a story of cultural missteps between a young real estate salesman in the United States and a difficult buyer from China. She hopes to find work as a producer or director in either country.

Film professor Bridget Murnane says the college is teaching new skills for digital media, and that Cal State LA and other Los Angeles universities are attracting international students to their film programs.

“They want to come and make television and film in the heart of television and film-land, and that is Los Angeles,” she said.

For film student Nidhin Patel, from Gujarat State, India, the international flavor of the campus is part of the attraction.

“With your friends, with your colleagues, your classmates, there is a whole second level of learning that happens as a human being, that you explore all the cultures," he said. " That's what happens in your free time. We're always discussing, how do you do this, how does that happen?”

He says this creative interaction will prepare him for a career in the increasingly international movie industry.