GCSE grade 5 in either English language or English literature.
Film Studies A Level mixes the academic study of modern British and American film with the study of classical Hollywood and foreign cinema. Students focus on aspects of film such as editing, lighting and sound as well as issues of film as a social and cultural practice, including representation of gender, audience response, themes, ideological messages values and film narrative structure. The course involves a substantial creative coursework practical element (30%) focussing on script writing and short film making.
The course should appeal to anyone who has an interest in film and media and who wants to develop their creative and media production skills. Successful film students need to have good written English skills, as the course includes an important written examination element. Any experience of making moving media or graphics is also advantageous. The course combines well with our Media, Drama, Art, Graphics, English and Music Technology.
The course starts with the study of popular British and American cinema, set films include Inception, La La Land, Trainspotting and Shaun of the Dead. Units on documentary film (Amy) and short film making are also included in Year 12. Students learn about film ‘language’ elements such as sound, lighting, editing, performance and cinematography as well as conceptual elements such as representation, spectatorship, ideology, critical debates and auteur theory. Practical film making exercises including short film making, script writing and film storyboarding are also covered in the first year.
In the second year we study classical Hollywood films such as Casablanca, Vertigo and Some Like It Hot in comparison to ‘New Hollywood’ films such as Bonnie and Clyde, Apocalypse Now, Bladerunner and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There is also unit on silent cinema, including the comedies of Buster Keaton. There is a foreign cinema unit involving the comparative study of films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and City of God. Finally there is a auteur (director) study covering directors such as Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction).
Some students have chosen to pursue either full academic, or practical, film making degrees at institutions such as Warwick University, Bournemouth, Aberystwyth, Westminster or Goldsmiths. A number of ex-students are now working in the film, television or media industries on shows such as The Apprentice and Britain’s Got Talent, Emmerdale, Channel 4 and Disney. Several ex students are now also film reviewers for the national press.
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