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Film Studies

A Level Film Studies

What is it about at sixth form level?

At the turn of the 20th century, Hollywood was a small and recently-named town that had begun as an agricultural community only fifty years earlier and film was a newly-established industry whose pioneers worked in Europe and America. Today, Hollywood is at the centre of a multi-billion dollar global industry and film is rightly recognised as a form of art in itself.

Film Studies is an academic A level designed to equip you with the critical skills and knowledge to understand film both as an industry and an art form. You examine different genres of film and the film-makers and technology behind them. Study ranges across American, British and world cinema, including documentary and silent cinema, experimental and mainstream film. The coursework will involve your writing a screenplay for a short film and making a digital-photo storyboard for one sequence from it, followed by an evaluative analysis.

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Lower sixth
Upper sixth

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Film Studies will develop your critical skills of analysis, your creative powers of expression, and your capacity to articulate your thoughts on paper in well-written and clear prose. It is a valuable and respected academic course that makes a good companion to other analytical subjects, such as English Literature and History of Art, and prepares you well for further study in any humanities subject at degree level.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You must have a wide-ranging interest in cinema and a desire to learn more. You must have an open mind, as you will be introduced to a broad range of material that covers different genres, periods and industries. You must have a good grade in English GCSE to meet the comprehension and writing demands of the course.

How is the course assessed?

A level

The A level is assessed by two written exams, plus a coursework component. Paper 1 (Varieties of Film and Filmmaking) assesses your understanding of a number of American and British films from different periods of cinema. It is worth 35% of the A level and lasts 2 hours 30 minutes. Paper 2 (Global Filmmaking Perspectives) examines you on different types of film: global films, documentary films, silent cinema and experimental films. It is worth 35% of the A level and lasts 2 hours 30 minutes. Component 3, “Production”, involves coursework and is internally assessed. You will write a 1600-1800 word screenplay for a short film, create a digitally photographed storyboard of a key section from the screenplay and write a 1700-2000 word evaluative analysis of your work. It is worth 30% of the A level.


Film Art (10th Edition)
By D. Bordwell, K. Thompson
Published by McGraw Hill, ISBN 978-1259253317

WJEC Eduqas Film Studies for A Level & AS Paperback
By Wardle, Cheshire, Ramey and Stewart (2018)
Illuminate Publishing ISBN-13: 978-1911208440

Hitchcock’s Films Revisited
By R. Wood
Published by CUP, ISBN 978-0571162260

By R. Altman
Published by BFI, ISBN 978-0851707174

Understanding Film Texts
By P. Phillips
Published by BFI, ISBN 978-0851707990

Genre and Hollywood
By S. Neale
Published by Routledge, ISBN 978-0415026062

Exam Board and Specification Codes


Jonathan Luke
Head of Department

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