Film Studies A Level

Film Studies A Level

Film Studies A Level

Film Studies A Level

One of the hardest things about Film Studies is the amount of thinking and talking that you have to do. There’s a lot of processing and reflection in lessons, and so the more practice you can get reading and thinking, the better. There’s always a temptation to talk about our favourite films, and of course that’s part of it, but you’ll be developing more critical thinking skills.

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Media and Film Department

Read about it!

Media and film both play a vital role in contemporary society. It is essential that young people possess the tools to understand and analyse the role of the (fake) media and the huge impact it has on their thinking, behaviour and other elements of their lives.

We are supported by a wealth of technical expertise and industry standard equipment which enables our students to excel in national competitions. Whether you prefer practical work or theoretical exploration the department has something to offer any individual who is driven to explore the media in greater depth.

Film Studies

Course Summary

Film is possibly the most powerful and ubiquitous media form of the last 100 years. However, despite what some people think, film is not merely a populist form of entertainment. While many works can be placed in this category, other films often come closer to status of art. It should also be remembered that the film industry is just that, an industry: a business with the primary goal of making money. While Hollywood is, in many ways, at the forefront of this, most national cinemas have their own equivalent.

Regardless of whether you prefer high-budget, Hollywood blockbusters or Scandinavian art cinema, any film can, and should, be studied. Film Studies is an academic discipline that examines the form, content, historical, cultural and economic aspects of cinema. A Level in Film Studies has been designed to ignite a passion for film and encourage broader cultural and historical perspectives on this academic area of study. It is our strong desire that an A level in Film Studies should inspire learners to continue learning beyond the confines of the classroom as well as developing personal and interpersonal skills that will serve them well both in Higher Education and in the workplace.

Fact file

  • The course provides an excellent introduction to the field of Film Studies.
  • Many of our students continue their study of film at degree level. A high number also progress into careers related to the film industry, including: film production, film journalism and marketing/distribution.
  • Film Studies compliments the study of a number of other subjects, including: Art & Design, Business Studies, English Literature, Media Studies and Sociology.
  • Students may have the opportunity to attend a range of trips, including those to the British Film Institute in London, Harry Potter Studio tour in London and residential trip Los Angeles

Progression Skills and Opportunities

In addition to gaining a detailed knowledge of cinema, students are expected to leave the course with enhanced skills in a range of key areas, including: creative thinking, problem-solving, effective communication and self-management. This qualification provides a strong foundation for learners to progress to Higher Education and equips learners for progression into the workplace.

Many of our ex-students have continued their study of cinema at university, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Universities attended by our ex-students include: Bournemouth University; King’s College, University of London; University of Southampton; Southampton Solent University; and University of Warwick.

How is the course assessed?

Students’ final grades will be determined via their performance across the following two written exams (worth 70% of the overall grade) and a coursework portfolio [NEA] (worth 30%).

The first year will serve as an introductory course in the study of Film, designed to deepen students’ understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of cinema. At the root of this is the recognition that films are constructed – using a range of elements, such as cinematography, mise-en-scène, sound and editing – and follow grammatical patterns that we learn to read. Film Studies will introduce learners to a wide range of films from different national cinemas, from the Silent Era to the present day, incorporating different film forms (shorts, experimental, documentary and fiction) and produced by a diverse variety of authors. Learners will also:

  • develop the skills to analyse, interpret and compare films critically, communicating ideas effectively through discursive argument
  • be able to synthesise complex areas of knowledge
  • show how knowledge of the ways in which films reflect their social, cultural, political, historical and institutional contexts informs analysis and understanding of set films. Critical debates Learners will also be expected to apply the following key critical approaches to film, using subject specific terminology
  • topic areas: film history (Hollowood focus), surrealism and experimental film, European film movements, UK & US contempoarary, documentary and independent world cinema

A Level Film Studies contain films with a mixture of certifications, including 18 certificate films. We will take into account the advice from the British Board of Film Certification (BBFC) and the maturity of our learners before showing any 18 certificated films.

Will I need specialist materials or equipment?

The course fee of £25 per year covers most of the materials that students will require. Due to the nature of the practical work undertaken on this course, students will be required to bring a minimum 1TB hard drive and a digital card reader. Students will also be assigned to a full Adobe Creative Cloud suite allowing access to the cloud based editing software both in college and at home. Students will have the opportunity to rent hard drives from the college media department for a deposit.

Work Experience

Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) – Visual Effects and Animation Virtual Work Experience Placement.

Industrial Light & Magic is an American motion picture visual effects company that was founded in May 1975 by George Lucas. It is a division of the film production company Lucasfilm, which Lucas founded, and was created when Lucas began production of the film Star Wars. Students completed a three-day virtual work placement where they worked in teams to recreate a scene from one of ILM’s previous projects, they also heard from several ILM staff about the diverse job roles in the VFX industry. Quotes from two of the students below:

Rhiann Gillman

“We had three days filled with talks and q&a sessions with industry experts as well as a group project where we planned a film centered around visual effects. We then pitched this alongside a presentation of mood boards to a panel of visual effects specialists who gave us feedback. The experience gave me skills in teamwork and leadership, and it showed me how film is a really collaborative process.”

Alex Baldry

Alex is now studying BA Film at the University of Westminster.

"When studying Film at QMC, I was provided with an environment in which I could fully explore my interests with the full support of both teachers and fellow students. We were taught beyond the syllabus: Each teacher took their own approach to the set films and discussed them in the context of their own passions. Further, the extra-curricular film club exposed me to a whole host of films I would not have previously watched and allowed me to expand and evolve my taste in cinema, which prepared me to study film at university."

Film Studies Year 1


Film Studies Year 2

George Carter

  George studied BA (HONS) Film at Falmouth. He is now making some short films and talking about films! "I went to QMC on recommendation on how strong the Creative Arts department is, and I was not disappointed. The amount of support I have received throughout the film course has been fantastic and it has really helped me become fully engaged with the course. The equipment for the practical work is really good and helps make the work look professional and you feel proud of what you created. The teachers are also really engaging and helpful which really helps with the enjoyment of the theoretical side of the course. My highlight trips would be the LA Trip in February 2020. It was amazing to see the different studios and all the landmarks used in some iconic films set in the area, such as Griffith Observatory. The other highlight being a trip to the Stanley Kubrick exhibition. To see all the props used on such iconic films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and A Clockwork Orange was fantastic and as someone who aspires to be involved in with filmmaking in some capacity, it was a truly eye opening and inspiring experience."

Film & Media Trip

Los Angeles

During your time in Film Studies, you will be given the opportunity to go on trips to enhance your experience through visiting key institutions and locations and engaging in activities away from the classroom. Recently, we have visited Pinewood Studios, the British Film Institute and saw the Kubrick exhibition at the Design Museum. We’ve also looked at exhibitions of work by experimental filmmakers at the Tate Gallery. We believe that these experiences are vital to your development as a student and would urge you to take these opportunities whenever you can. To see more photos from our trips please look on our Instagram page.

One of the many experiences we offer is our annual trip to LA in the second year. We stay in Studio City, where many silent and classic Hollywood films were shot. The students who come with us get an amazing experience, and we visit many famous locations, but also some of the major studios for guided tours including Sony, Warner Brothers and Universal.
As well as the work you produce for your A level, you will be given opportunities to enter local and national competitions and engage in projects outside of your normal studies. We regularly have talks from universities, professionals and companies to give you a broader understanding of future options. We are currently working closely with the Exit 6 Film Festival, and we arranged a visit to Pinewood Studios with locally-based Sony.

We also offer enrichments within the department, such as Film Club, to help develop your understanding and give you a broader experience which will benefit your future ambitions. To learn more, please have a look at our enrichments guide.

Any Questions?

Our Head of Department, Tom Cops will be happy to help.

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