Film and TV majors at the Tisch School of the Arts embark on a program that fosters limitless creativity and productivity. They delve into the history of film by exploring creative, craft, and critical traditions. They also learn the elements of storytelling, cinematography, and directing, along with the ins and outs of production. And they explore different styles, from television shows and documentaries to animations and commercials. Together, students, faculty, and staff create over 5,000 films per year.

For Mulan Fu, a Film and TV major from Shanghai, the program is a space for her to bring her many talents to bear on her favorite medium: animation. “I really love storytelling, and I want to let my voice be heard,” says Mulan. She has loved animation ever since she was a child. But the more she watched, the more she noticed a lack of representation of Chinese culture and history. She wanted to bring her culture to the forefront while exploring the possibilities of the genre.

“Animation is a great way to merge all my interests in art, music, and illustration,” she explains. “Everything comes together into one perfect medium that reaches a global audience. There are no physical, scientific, or locational restraints. You just need a pen and a tablet, and you can create an entire world.”

This piece, Stray Cat Ah Q, is based on Mulan’s life. It tells the story of her friendship with a stray cat she found in her backyard when she was a child. But then, she gets into her dream school: NYU. Even so, the distance doesn’t keep them apart. Not only did Mulan animate this video herself, she also wrote, directed, and composed the score for it.

Her hard work paid off. Stray Cat Ah Q played at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival Animation Day. It has also been screened at over 20 other film festivals. Not only that, it placed in many of them, taking home the award for Best Animation at the Hollywood Verge Film Awards, the Culture & Diversity Film Festival, and the Toyama International Film Festival. And Mulan won Best Director at the Global India International Film Festival.

Cat has been telling NYU stories for nearly 10 years with NYU’s University Relations and Public Affairs Office of Marketing Communications and is constantly inspired by what the people of this community make real. She’s also a proud alum of the NYU MFA program in creative writing, and runs a literary magazine in her free time. When she needs to get away from words, she does work in her neighborhood gardens and parks.