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NYFA Cinematography Alum Finds Success

New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Cinematography Alum Tian Liu Finds Continued Success

May 9, 2019 New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Tian Liu has been keeping very busy since graduating from the Fall 2015 MFA in Cinematography program. Liu has been steadily growing her career as a filmmaker and building her portfolio with credits as a cinematographer, photographer, and producer on several professional projects.

As a photographer, Liu has found success publishing her work in high-profile magazines and newspapers, including China Daily. Over 40 images she’s shot have been featured in Vogue Italia.


Her thesis film, The Piano, has screened at over 35 film festivals, and has picked up an impressive 28 awards for Best Cinematography. She has worked on over 40 film projects that used 16mm and 35mm film, and has shot several films as director of photography. Recently, Liu worked on a feature film in Louisiana, as well as a camera operator for Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dean Cundey, ASC (Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) on the feature documentary Motionless. Additionally, Liu has worked in New York City for the United Nations and an esteemed advertisement firm.



Liu originally hails from China, where she studied sports journalism. While teaching orphans math as a volunteer in Kenya, Liu felt inspired to photograph their experience. Those images were eventually published, and Liu realized she wanted to become a filmmaker. “I realized that images have power,” Liu tells NYFA. “It can tell others a story, it also can help people and give people a better life. I love telling stories and I want to be a visual artist.”

Following her dream, Liu opened a photo studio and enrolled at New York Film Academy. At NYFA, Liu earned her MFA in Cinematography while studying under Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond, ASC, BSC (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Sandlot, Legally Blonde).

“Without NYFA,” Liu says, "I would not have been able to become a female Chinese cinematographer and do the kind of work I find so fulfilling.”

While the film industry works to course correct issues of gender inequality, women still make up a distressingly small proportion of working professional cinematographers. Liu has been a strong voice for female cinematographers, and recently gave a talk at USC about working in the industry as a female, Chinese cinematographer.

New York Film Academy congratulates Cinematography alum Tian Liu on her continued success in the industry and thanks her sharing her experiences with the filmmaking community.










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