Beijing's acting schools attract an increasing number of foreign applicants who have ambitions to realize their dreams in China. Grace Lee Grant from the United States.
The feverish ambitions of young Chinese seeking entry to the prosperous film industry also infects foreigners, especially those with Asian roots.
This year, the Beijing Film Academy, regarded as the cradle for film stars in China, received 25 applications from across the world, up from last year's 18.
"There are more opportunities for Asian faces in China than in the United States," says 17-year-old Chinese-American Grace Lee Grant, who has applied to two Chinese film institutions.
The 2012 Miss California's Outstanding Teen has been impressive as a ballerina, but due to an ankle injury, she decided to focus on acting just one month ago and flew to China directly to take the entrance exams and interviews required by film institutions.
It's her fourth visit to the country.
"I can speak Chinese well but can only read a little," says Grant, adding that she still has difficulty understanding Chinese culture despite her ethnic-Chinese family.
Before she flew to China, Grant's father helped her practice Chinese for one month.
"I had heard Chinese applicants trained a long time for the entrance exam, but I believe my ballet will help me stand out," says Grant, who played a role in the San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker.
For Mia Thayer, it was an incredible experience to stand with 30 applicants in a room to read poems one by one during an initial test held by the Central Academy of Drama.