As a student of Film Studies you will undertake a systematic study of cinema and film. Film is arguably the most influential and culturally significant art form of the present. It is certainly the only new art form produced in the Twentieth Century.
This course is ideal for students who want to explore how and why films are made. A level Film Studies focusses on the analysis and deconstruction of film over a wide historical time frame. It allows you to engage with films from early silent cinema to 1930s Hollywood films to contemporary and experimental cinema.
Film Studies A level involves studying 12 different films. These are separated into set categories, which are; American, British, Independent, Global, Documentary, Experimental and Silent Film. These are analysed via a number of different study area frameworks, including: film form, meaning and response, context, spectatorship, narrative, ideology, authorship, critical debates and theoretical debates. You work with your peers to debate and pull apart the set film texts and to develop a sophisticated contextual understanding of the world at the time these films were made. Film Studies requires that you develop an inquisitive mind and consider the deeper social, political and economic contexts of those films.
You also explore the work of a wide range of influential film directors, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers. Film Studies A level also takes in the forefathers of cinema by evaluating the impact of key pioneers on the film industry including The Lumiere Brothers, DW Griffiths, Charlie Chaplin, and Sergei Eisenstein.
Film Studies A level will introduce you to a wide range of film-making processes so that you develop, through discussion, analysis and debate, a wide range of technical skills for both constructing and deconstructing film. This will give you the ability to develop your own creative skills as you explore these film-making techniques from different times and places. The coursework element allows you to experiment with a variety of film-making technology and film-editing software to develop your creative skills.
You will be expected to think independently and to develop your own ‘voice’, and you will be expected to expand your knowledge outside of the classroom through reading about and watching film. This is likely to involve going to film festivals and exhibitions. In essence you will need to live and breathe the cinema!
A passion for a wide range of cinema is essential for success in Film Studies A level but it is not necessary to have studied either Film or Media at GCSE. It is an academic subject and suits students who have flourished in essay-based subjects like English Literature or History. As a rule, students who have achieved a minimum of 5 GCSE’s 9-4 (equivalent to A*-C) will fare better in this subject.
A level Film Studies students can go onto study Film, TV or Media at University. Students have the option to study a practical degree, theoretical degree or a combination of the two. This can lead to a very broad range of professions with many students able to develop skills that will enable them to apply for production roles within the Film, TV and Media industries. Some students opt for careers within Journalism and photojournalism.
A good degree in a creative arts subject like Film Studies can also develop a wide range of transferable skills including analysis, visual communication, problem solving, as well as communication, presentation and organizational skills.
Due to the range of key film texts that you are required to cover, and the range of theoretical perspectives, it is very hard to take this course in one year and expect to get a good grade. The coursework requirement is particularly difficult to compress.
For the Eduqas board (WJEC) 70% of your mark is assessed through two 150-minute exams at the end of the two-year course. One focusses on American and British Film, whilst the other focuses on global, documentary, silent and experimental film.
Coursework makes up the remaining 30% of the Film Studies A Level. You can choose to create a either short film (4-5 minutes) or produce a screenplay for a short film of between 1600-1800 words. The screenplay must also be accompanied with a digitally photographed storyboard of a 2-minute section of the screenplay. and you must write an evaluation of your production, of between 1600-1800 words.
To study A Levels, your current or pending exam results should be equivalent to or higher than GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in at least 5 subjects and a minimum level of English equivalent to IELTS 5.5.
At the start of each academic year of study students following an A Level course without a pass at Level 5/Grade C in GCSE or IGCSE English Language or with an Academic English score below 6.5 overall must join an Academic English training course for the duration of the academic year which will be timetabled alongside A Level lessons.
If your level of English is not sufficient to meet the entry criteria for the A Level programme you will normally be offered a place on the one year Academic Preparation Course (pre A Level) in order to bring your English skills up to the required level.