Film Studies

Course Leader:

Mr G Scarfe –

Exam board: WJEC
Guidance: Grade 5 in GCSE English and 5 in either film studies (if taken at GCSE), or in another written subject.
Course Start Date: 09/2024
Course length: 2 Years
Course description

Many consider film to be the main cultural innovation of the 20th century and a major art form of the last hundred years. Those who study it characteristically bring with them a high degree of enthusiasm and excitement for what is a powerful and culturally significant medium, inspiring a range of responses from the emotional to the reflective.

Film studies consequently makes an important contribution to the curriculum, offering the opportunity to investigate how film works both as a powerful medium of representation and as an aesthetic medium. This new specification offers studies mainstream and independent American and British films from the past and the present as well as more recent global films, both non-English language and English language.

The historical range of film represented in those films is extended by the study of silent film and significant film movements so that learners can gain a sense of the development of film from its early years to its still emerging digital future. Studies in documentary, experimental and short films add to the breadth of the learning experience.

Production work is a crucial part of this specification and is integral to learners’ study of film. Studying a range of films from several different contexts is designed to give learners the opportunity to apply their knowledge and understanding of how films are constructed to their own filmmaking and screenwriting. This is intended to enable learners to create high quality film and screenplay work as well as provide an informed filmmaker’s perspective on their own study of film.

Course units

Component one: British and American film – 35% of qualification, 2.5 hour exam.
Section A: Classical Hollywood (1930-1990): Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) Bonnie & Clyde (Penn 1967)
Section B: Contemporary American film: La La Land (Chazelle, 2016) & Frances Ha (Baumbach, 2012)
Section C: British film since 1995: Trainspotting (Boyle, 1996) and Sightseers (Wheatley, 2012)

Component Two: Varieties of film – 35% of qualification, 2.5 hour exam.
Section A: Global film: Life is Beautiful (Benigni, 1997) & House of Flying Daggers (Zhang 2004)
Section B: Documentary: 20,000 days on Earth (Forsyth & Pollard 2014)
Section C: Film movements: Silent Comedies of Buster Keaton
Section D: Film movements: Experimental film – Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994)

Component Three: Production – 30% of qualification, non-exam assessment.
The production may take the form of either a short film or a screenplay for a short film. The screenplay must be accompanied by a digitally photographed storyboard of a key sequence from the screenplay in order to demonstrate how the screenplay will be realised. Learners must also provide an evaluative analysis of the production, which analyses and evaluates the production in relation to other professionally produced films or screenplays.

The Framework for studying films
All films studied on the course will be deconstructed using the framework below:
1. the key elements of film form – cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing, sound and performance
2. the structural elements of film form – narrative, the processes of narration, including the role of the screenplay in providing narrative structure, and genre
3. how film creates meaning and generates response, including how it functions as a medium of representation. How do films represent different cultures and societies and what is the ideological significance of this?
4. film as an aesthetic medium. The way filmmakers create memorable visual & aural moments within a film. The sensory impact of the film on the viewer
5. the social, cultural, political, historical and institutional contexts of film
6. critical approaches to studying film
7. the idea of film as ‘constructed’ and including different conceptions of narrative, ideology and the idea of the ‘auteur’ (author of film)
8. key debates in film, to include: realist vs expressive film
9. film makers’ theories of film


See above

What can I do with this qualification?

Film A level provides you with a range of skills appropriate for all university degrees in the Film/Media/Communications area. The practical side of the course enables students to approach higher education colleges with a show-reel of completed work as well as grades for entry. We have good links with Brighton Film School and many of our students have gained places at courses in Bournemouth, Birmingham, Ravensbourne and more besides.

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