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Film Studies

Film is one of the main cultural innovations of the 20th century and a major art form of the last hundred years. Students who study film will be encouraged to develop a high degree of enthusiasm and excitement for what is a powerful and culturally significant medium, inspiring a wide range of responses from the emotional to the reflective. Film Studies offers the opportunity to investigate how films work both as form of representation and also as an aesthetic medium.

If you choose this course you would benefit from:

  • Experienced teachers who possess a genuine interest in Film analysis and production as well as knowledge of the diverse range of film forms; from the silent era to more contemporary works.
  • Regular visits by practicing filmmakers and industry professionals throughout
    your studies. Ken Loach, Jim Hickey and Dan Gage have all given guest lectures over the last few years.
  • Trips related to the subject which have previously included: residential trips to Paris, Berlin and the Edinburgh International Film Festival (annually). Cinema screenings at ‘The Electric Cinema’ in Birmingham and visits to local universities to enhance the student experience.
  • Encouragement to enter their productions into national and regional competitions to get their work viewed by their peers and other practitioners’.

In the first year you will study:

  • How films generate meanings and responses through technical features; such as cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing, sound, lighting and performance.
  • Film and its key contexts (including social, cultural, political, historical and technological contexts)
  • The different ways in which spectators respond to film narratives.
  • The significance of film and film practice in national, global and historical contexts; including ideology and critical debates.
  • Component 1- Hollywood 1930-1990, American film since 2005, British film since 1995 (films tbc)

In the second year you will study:

  • How to apply critical approaches to a wide range of film forms.
  • How to apply knowledge and understanding of film through either filmmaking or screenwriting production assignments.
  • Research methods, production techniques, reflective practices in order to refine your analytical and creative skills to enable students to successfully navigate all aspects of course assessment.
  • Component 2 – Global Film, Documentary Film, Film Movements (Silent Cinema), Film Movements (Experimental Cinema) (films tbc)
  • Component 3 – Production Options and Evaluative Analysis (throughout yr1 & yr2)


What will I be taught?

The course will be taught using a variety of techniques and approaches. This will involve contextually informative lectures, film screenings, reflective group critiques as well as a variety of practical production activities.

Classroom activities will include:

  • Viewing short film sequences to demonstrate technical features; such as cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing, sound, lighting and performance.
  • The screening of key films and the study of approaches to analysis.
  • Group and class discussion on the process of formulating conflicting meanings and responses.
  • Developing technical production skills for Component 3 (practical application).
  • Screenwriting, camera techniques, lighting, editing and sound production tutorials.
  • Developing research methods and understanding of the key theoretical approaches.


Based on research into how students learn best, each subject will set independent work to allow you to recap what you have done in the past, consolidate understanding for what you are studying in the present and develop the skills and experiences which will help you for the future. You can read more about the college’s approach to independent study here

The Past
Click here for the suggested ongoing revision activities in this subject which research has shown are most likely to boost your achievement

The Present
Each subject will set weekly homework tasks to help you consolidate your understanding and prepare for your next lesson. This work is typically set through Microsoft Teams, so you will have an electronic log of all your work, notes and feedback.

The Future
A key part of your independent work in this subject will be to prepare for a range of potential jobs and higher education courses when you leave us. To get started, look below at the top higher education courses and jobs which previous students of this course have gone on to do.

Students who complete the course tend to progress on to creative degrees, apprenticeships or workplace employment. This includes employment or study in Film, Journalism, Media, Photography, Art, Production Design or Teacher Training. Students who study this course could also combine their knowledge, skills and experience with Business, English or Modern Foreign Languages as part of a wider program of study.

5 x GCSE grades 4-9 (incl. English Language)
4.0 = GCSE Average

Additional Requirements

4 in English Literature (preferred)

Not essential but it will help your success…

An interest in studying film as an art form, analysing extracts and applying theoretical perspectives.

Pairs well with English Literature, Art, Media Studies, Sociology and Photography. You prefer a course with both exam and practical coursework components.

Teaching contact time is 4 hours and 20 minutes per subject. Other workshops will be available throughout the year including over some holiday periods. Students are expected to complete up to 4 hours of independent study to complete assignments, homework, extra reading and independent research.


  • Component 1: Varieties of film and filmmaking (Written examination 2½ hrs) 35%
  • Component 2: Global filmmaking perspectives (Written examination 2½ hrs) 35%
  • Component 3: Production (Non-exam assessment) 30%

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