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.

Lower sixth

In the first year you will begin your academic examination of film with a focus on two Hollywood films from the period 1930 to 1990. You will learn how to analyse representation in film through the close study of filmmakers’ techniques, their usage of genre and narrative and the historical context of their work. You will continue by studying three non-Hollywood films and will end with a contemporary British film which will lead you into the coursework, writing a sequence from a screenplay.

Upper sixth

In the second year the course broadens and deepens with the study of European and World cinema together with documentary and silent film. Further contemporary US and British films are also examined and you will submit a screenplay for a short film for the coursework component.

Why study it and what 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?

AS level

The AS level is assessed by a written exam and a coursework component. Paper 1 (Elements of Film) assesses your understanding of a number of English language films from different periods and also of one European film. It is worth 70% of the AS level and lasts 2 hours. Component 2 (Understanding British Film) involves coursework and is internally assessed. You will write a 6 page screenplay, create a 12 photo storyboard and write a 1000 word evaluative analysis of your work. It is worth 30% of the AS level.

A level

The A level is assessed by 2 written exams and a coursework component. Paper 1 (Film History) assesses your understanding of a number of American and European films from different periods of cinema. It is worth 35% of the A level and lasts 2 hours. Paper 2 (Critical Approaches to Film) examines you on different types of film; documentary, world, British and US. It is worth 35% of the A level and lasts 2 hours. Component 3 involves coursework and is internally assessed. You will write a 10 page screenplay for a short film, create a 20 photo storyboard and write a 1,500 word evaluative analysis of your work. It is worth 30% of the A level.

Reading

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

Introduction to Film Studies (5th Edition)
Edited by J. Nelmes
Published by Routledge, ISBN 978-0415582599

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

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

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

 

Exam Board and Specification Codes

WJEC specification codes have yet to be confirmed.

 

Matthew

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Warwick University (Chemistry)

“I have definitely made the right decision to come to MPW - my grades have gone from averaging Es to straight As. Teaching at MPW is much more personal and I felt like talking to teachers. They are very good and give you lots of support if you do not understand something. My Personal Tutor took me through the UCAS process step by step. We went through my Personal Statement many times to make sure it was completely perfect. I am very excited about my firm choice.”

Gabriel

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Nottingham University (Philosophy)

As a dyslexic student who initially got CCEE for my AS, I was convinced that I could not achieve any higher. My time at MPW proved me wrong. Initially I was reluctant to move from my local school in York to a college so far away from home, my parents, and friends. At the end of my first year I was overjoyed to find that many hours of hard work and renewed revision techniques had resulted in me achieving three A's in my subjects. I wanted to continue at A2 as I knew it would greatly improve my university prospects and encourage me to work even harder. After two fantastic years at MPW I can emphatically say that going to MPW was the best decision I ever made. 

Andrew

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”

Anastasia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”

Akmaral

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”

Julia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AABB

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”