Overview

Film Studies takes both a theoretical and practical approach to this major contemporary art form. The course involves the study of British, American and World Cinema from a range of different critical approaches including narrative, genre and representation. Students will consider the significance of various movements such as surrealism and documentary in the history of film, before applying their knowledge creatively through a practical project involving screenwriting and short film-making.

What goes well with this course?

Film Studies may be combined with any subject but will go particularly well with other essay-based subjects such as:

  • English
  • History
  • Media Studies
  • Sociology
  • Politics
  • Psychology

Progression

Although not a vocational qualification, A Level FilmStudies provides a useful foundation for students wishing to study Film at a higher level or pursue a career in moving image production. 

Course Content

The course involves the study of British, American and European cinema and considers the importance of significant film movements and directors in its historical development.

This course covers:

  • Film form and narrative
  • Film history
  • Ideology and film
  • World cinema
  • Practical film production including screenwriting

Educational Experiences

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

Film Studies students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences. In recent years, these have included:

  • Reigate College’s Film and Media Awards evening
  • a talk by Brighton Film School about careers in the film industry
  • A Q&A with Independent British Filmmaker Tristan Lorraine from Fact not Fiction Films, following a screening of his recent film  A Dark Reflection
  • A presentation from Sound Designer Nick Harrison
  • A tour of the Warner Bros studios (Harry Potter), plus workshop on cinematography
  • A residential ‘Video School’ trip
  • A trip to New York where students had a guided tour of the Museum of the Moving Image as well a chance to see locations used in various Hollywood films
  • Various work experience opportunities

Activities Programme

In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.

Work Experience

All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.

Assessment

This course is assessed through both written examinations (70%) and coursework (30%). The coursework involves practical production work and screenwriting.

Students produce a five minute short film using the College’s studio, digital editing suite and HD DSLR cameras.

The exam board for this A Level is OCR.

Entry Requirements

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirement:  

  • Grade 5 in English Language

Students will enjoy this course if they would like to:

  • Analyse and discuss films in detail
  • Make their own short films
  • Learn more about the history of film
  • Find out about different styles of film making

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between Media and Film?

In Media you will cover a broad range of different media forms (Film is not included, only Film Marketing) across the course including traditional and new media.

In Film you will study films from a broad variety of perspectives. As well as developing analysis skills like you do in Media, you will also be covering US film history and how film language has developed as an art form from the Silent Era through Hollywood’s Golden Age to the modern era.

The ground-breaking ideas of the French New Wave and the Surrealists complement this time travel.

Academic issues and debates surrounding the role of the director, the impact of digital technology, the way audiences view and interact with film and representation of social groups, places and events are discussed across several set films.

The set films you will study come from the UK, US, Europe and the Middle East. All these ideas come together with the Making Short Film unit when you will make a 5-minute short film.

What’s the difference between Digital Media Production and Film A Level – apart from the qualification?

Both courses involve theory and practical production.

However, the A Level has more emphasis on theory and involves more exam assessment (70% exam assessed).

You will study film form and academic theories on the A Level course.

The Digital Media Production course involves theory and analysis but also includes units that have more of a vocational focus, helping students develop skills such as responding to a brief and planning for production as well as production techniques.

Can you study both Film A Level and BTEC Digital Media Production?

Yes you can study both courses. If you’re considering a career in Film and/or Media these courses will allow you to develop strong academic skills while developing a good understanding of working professional practices.

What kind of job/career will this lead to?

The Film and Media Industries are developing and expanding at a greater rate than most other sectors of the UK economy.

In recent years there has been a huge investment by large media corporations in UK production facilities.

For the first time ever the industry is getting worried it will not be able to fill the vacancies.

The Film Studies course helps prepare students for a broad range of possible progression routes both in the film Industry and beyond. See some examples here – https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/film-studies.

The Film Studies course helps students develop a range of transferable skills (see course information for details) that are in demand across many industries.

Organisations such as the British Film Institute and Screenskills provide education opportunities, skills workshops and careers advice.

Do you need your own equipment?

We will provide the filming equipment and software you will need for the practical production work.

The only cost to students is for an SD card which all Film & Media students must purchase from the college shop (current cost is £13.50).

What other subjects work well with Film?

There is no bad combination with Film Studies as it is a course that involves a wide range of academic and creative skills.

It may be useful to study it alongside other essay or art based subjects such as Politics, History, Media or Photography, but we have students studying a wide variety of courses alongside their Film Studies A Level such as Maths, Business Studies and PE.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2021

Students from partner schools (Reigate, Warwick, de Stafford and Oakwood) should complete an online application under the guidance of their school.

All other applicants should download and return the 2021 application form.

All applications will be considered according to the College’s Admissions Policy.

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

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