A Level

Film Studies


Work Experience

You will have the opporunity to participate in our annual department EXPO week, as week of industry events including; talks, workshops and the 48 hour film competition.

An opportunity to visit the Santa Barbara Film Festival during the annual LA trip where we can attend Director and Producer panel discussions and screenings.

Film Studies involves the study of contemporary and historical film from an analytical approach. Over the two-year course, you will study eleven films including films from major film movements and production styles from the USA and the UK, as well as European and World Cinema. You will consider your role as spectator in the construction of meaning and examine film as an aesthetic art form, a storytelling medium and how films reflect their social and political contexts. Film Studies not only enables you to understand how films both make meaning and reflect wider societal values but will also develop your own filmmaking skills to put theory into practice.

Course Content

Year 1

In the first year, we will introduce you to the basics of film language and film form alongside a short induction filmmaking task to start developing your creative skills. We then move onto the study of our two British films, these are currently We need to Talk about Kevin and This is England, analysing how they not only make meaning though the core elements applicable to all films; film form, representations and film contexts but also through the specialist study areas of ideology and narrative. The historical study of classical Hollywood and New Hollywood cinema enables you to understand where much of contemporary cinema emerges from, with our current films Casablanca and Bonnie and Clyde providing an excellent comparison. We will also start our global film unit and contemporary American film unit through our analysis of the thrilling one take German film Victoria and Independent US film Boyhood, which was shot over a staggering 14-year period.

Year 2 

In the second year, the course will explore a wider range of films arguably less mainstream and accessible. You will learn about defining film movements such as Experimental Film through our study of Wong Kar Wai’s celebrated Fallen Angels a masterpiece in loose storytelling and aesthetic style. We continue our journey through the history of cinema with our Silent film Sunrise analysing how silent films made meaning before the advent of sound. Our documentary film Stories we Tell introduces us to the non-fiction film genre exploring key debates around authenticity, truth and technology. Finally, our last contemporary American film La La Land allows us to discuss issues around spectatorship and ideology in this modern musical.

NEA (Non examined assessment) - 30% of your final grade

Film studies offers not only the opportunity to study and analyse a wide range of films but also to put that theory into practice with 30% of your grade coming from the production of a short film. In component 3 you will study a range of short films and then plan, direct and edit your own short 4-5 minute film completely independently. We have all the equipment you need including our new DSLR cameras, dollys and lights. We also have two full time technical instructors who will train you to use the equipment and the editing software Adobe.  

Where Could It Take Me?

An A level in Film Studies is a highly thought of subject which also allows for significant creative and interpretive scope. Cambrdge now offers its Masters in Screen Studies and nearly all the Russell Group Universities offer Film studies BA's. The combination of rigorous theoretical understanding coupled with technical and creative knowledge means that the qualification offers students the chance to develop their own skills grounded in an academic context. As such it fits very well alongside a range of other humanities, creative and technical subjects to give you a strong basis for university study. Many students go on to study film, television, journalism or other creative industries related courses. Alternatively it provides an excellent qualification alongside other A-levels enabling you to access a wide range of university courses in Arts, Humanities or Science disciplines.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Maths and English.

A desire to plan and create your own short film independently (we will train you to use all the cameras and editing software)

Methods of Teaching

Film Studies is taught in a dedicated room with access to a personal computer and excellent camera and editing facilities. The subject also has a high specification green screen room to support your filmmaking ambitions. Lessons are structured around screenings, taught content, presentations and group work, the majority of lessons will focus around analysis of your study films with the emphasis on you to make your notes. We are a paper free subject as all the resources are on our dedicated Intranet site and the classroom has computers for all lessons. Your assessment will be mostly made through written work so essay-writing skills are key; the exam includes long 50-minute essay answers. We also include regular educational trips and screenings, including to London and to more local art house cinemas to build on your cinematic experiences and education.

Please note that some films studied will carry an 18 certificate. BBFC certification is ‘advisory’ and films classified 18 in a non-commercial educational context, mediated through a teacher is permitted and accepted by the BBFC as representing exceptional viewing conditions. However, mindful of possible impact on students we assess the suitability of all films before screening and have a content warnings sheet which students can choose to access if they are worried about the content of any of the films studied.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

Examination: 70%

Component 1: Varieties of film and filmaking

  • Study of two Hollywood films 1930 - 1990 (comparative study)
  • Study of American independent film and contemporary American film
  • Study of two British films

Component 2: Global filmaking perspectives

  • Study of one Experimental film
  • Study of one contemporary European film and one global film
  • Study of one Documentary
  • Study of one Silent film

Non-exam assessment (NEA) 30% (short film and Evaluative analysis)

Component 3: Film production

  • Here you will be able to make your own short 4-5 minute film and learn skills in cinematography, editing, post-production effects and sound design. You will also produce an 1800 word evaluative analysis, analysing the short films you have studied and evaluating your own production in comparison.


Financial Implications

There will be a list of films for suggested viewing which students may wish to purchase. 

Each student will be required to purchase their own SD card for the filming of practical work, the ones we recommend cost £5.99.

The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.