Du Songye, 67, lives in Luoyang, central China’s Henan Province and began her one-year-long education program as a mature student, majoring in acting at Beijing Film Academy on April 21. She is the oldest acting student since the school was established in 1950.
Songye's stories about pursuing her acting dream at a later stage in life has inspired the country.
After retiring, Du joined an elderly model team and then an opera acting class in Luoyang, but after feeling unfulfilled by the classes she quit. However, her interest in acting was renewed when a friend asked her to audition for a sit-com.
One year later, not satisfied by the few acting opportunities available, she went to Hengdian World Studio, a Chinese-like Hollywood that is located in Zhejiang Province. It was here where she began to get roles as the mother of the protagonists in movies and television series.
To better memorize the line Du wrote down every singe word in her note book.
Despite having to wake up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning and finishing the shooting late in the evening, she still enjoyed performing in front of the camera.
"I can earn 2000 yuan (around 316 US dollars) per month at Hengdian, but the monthly expense there was around 3000 to 4000 yuan (around 475 US dollars to 633 US dollars)", she said to the China News.
In the next two years, she participated over 20 micro-movies, sit-coms and one cinema movie, acting as the mother of the protagonist.
Du cannot talk about her experience in the past years without being emotional.
However, commuting from her home to Hengdian regularly started to take it's toil. Du explained that most of the people she worked with had graduated from professional film schools or have vast experience in performance.
Encouraged by a lecturer at an acting seminar in Hengdian and the recruitment office of Beijing Film Academy, she sent off her application to the school. Du soon received an admission card for the entrance exam. However, Du said she still felt hesitant due to worrying about what people would think, “Why now? Do you still want to be a movie star at this age?"
Then her supportive husband persuaded her to take the exam.
"This is always the direction you have sticked to", he told her, "Just go."
Only one day after the exam, she finally got the offer.
Du cannot talk about her past experience without being emotional, and showed her notebooks containing her old lines she would recite during her time as an actor at Hengdian.
“In the next year, I will be a positive grandma among the students at the colleague,” she smiled.