The A-level Film Studies course focuses on practical tasks to demonstrate learning, but starts from a more theoretical and critical perspective, and is intended as a complementary qualification which allows students to specialise in an area they enjoy or wish to enter professionally. It looks at the way film institutions, audiences and products are inter-related, and involves a particular focus on the UK cinema industry through a case study of famous UK film production companies, as well as a direct textual comparison between two Hollywood films on the same theme. Activities include the study of production practices, film techniques and meanings, and audience readings, and these are assessed through the examined case studies as well as the practical production of a two-minute section of a film from conception to final edit. The rationale behind the course is to develop students' critical skills so that they become critically autonomous, able to work out the meanings of texts, their ideological intentions and intended audience effects, and the techniques through which these have been achieved. Using these skills as a cornerstone, students can then begin to develop their practical film skills and build up a portfolio of products.

AS Film Studies: Student Course Outline

FM1 - Coursework

FM2 - Exam

  • Section A - Written Analysis
  • Student analysis of a 3-5 minute sequence of a film of their choice, focusing on one or two micro-elements, and the sensory effect on audiences
    • Mise-en-scene
    • Sound
    • Editing
    • Cinematography
    • Performance
  • Individual 1500 word written analysis


  • Section B - Practical Project
  • Aims and context: Completion of a standardised coversheet to give a context to the creative work for assessment
  • Sequence: A 2-3 minute extract from a film, in the form of a photographic Storyboard, an Extended Step-Outline, and a production
  • Individual Reflective Analysis: Considers key MICRO features of sequence in terms of intended and actual effect
  • Group members should focus on their own role and chosen micro aspect. Can be 'traditional': paper based with or without illustrative material, digital - blog or web-based format, or as a DVD commentary
  • Section A - Producers And Audiences
    • Skills required: Ability to interpret of materials, problem-solving, ability to cross-reference to other sections of FM2
    • Examination: 50-minute essay (with 10 minutes reading time), based on three pieces of stimulus material, and your own case studies to answer a set question
    • Content: Hollywood and British Film Production, the inter-relationship between producers and audiences


    • Section B - British Cinema

British Cinema issues, contexts and representations within British films: Case study-based

    • Skills required: Ability to compare films and draw out trends in UK cinema, ability to contextualize texts
    • Examination: 50-minute essay in response to a set question on narrative and thematic issues, or representation issues
    • Content: A detailed study of Working Title's output in terms of narrative, themes, common characteristics and production context. Close study films will include Four Weddings And A Funeral, Love Actually, as well as broadening out to films such as Hot Fuzz, Touching The Void and United 93.
  • Section C - Comparative US Cinema Study
    • Skills required: Ability to compare and contrast films, ability to use contextual knowledge to account for differences and similarities
    • Examination: 50-minute essay, based on a comparative study of two films
    • Content: Two films from a specific genre or with thematic links, perhaps from different historical eras, to be studied comparing narrative, genre conventions, representations and contextual factors which might account for these. Suggested examples could include The Lost Weekend and Memento, Double Indemnity and The Last Seduction, Singin' In The Rain and Moulin Rouge, Rebel Without A Cause and Donnie Darko, or a remake of an older film.