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Film Studies

Examination Board: WJEC
New Film Studies A level first examination 2017

For over a century now film has provided perhaps the most visceral medium for the communication of narrative, a means by which, in one hour and a half, an audience can be thrilled, saddened, humoured, and educated. Without doubt the industry has changed unrecognisably since its birth – for better or for worse – yet the place film holds in our society seems firmly established and its importance will not wane.

What will I learn?

Film Studies provides students with the exciting opportunity to sample a vast array of films from around the world, from Danish Dogme ’95 films to Nick Broomfield’s gritty realism and the experimental films of  David Fincher or Celine Schiamma.  Students deepen their understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of cinema by exploring the language of film through its constituent parts such as cinematography, lighting, mise-en-scène, sound, and editing. Film Studies is also a subject that by its nature requires students to consider the ethical, social, and cultural issues expressed in film.
The course encourages students to develop strong skills of critical analysis and personal reflection as well as developing their creativity and practical skills. In particular the course explores the relationship between the film and the spectator by exploring how films create meanings and produce emotional responses. Additionally, the aesthetic qualities of film are emphasised as integral to a study of the interaction between films and spectators. Students learn about the Hollywood and British film industries, and discuss issues such as censorship and the portrayal of gender, nationality, and class stereotypes in film.
For coursework students have the option of making their own short films, writing screenplays or developing step-outlines.

The Film Studies course content is divided into four units:

FM1 – Exploring Film Form The language of film: cinematography, editing, sound, mise-en-scene, lighting. A micro-analysis of a chosen sequence, a creative project  (choose one: digital storyboard or short film or step-outline).

FM2 – British and American Film The film industry: producers and audiences (Hollywood and the British film industry), borders and belonging (UK films), comparative study (US films).

FM3 – Film Research & Creative Projects Research project (choose one critical approach: genre, auteur, social/political/historical context), creative production – choose one: film, screenplay or step outline.

FM4 – Varieties of Experience – Issues & Debates World cinema: empowering women, spectatorship: documentary films, single film critical study: The Battle of Algiers (Italy/Algeria, Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966) / Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999).

ASSESSMENT

Assessment involves both coursework and written examinations. There are four pieces of coursework: two are written analysis/research, and two are creative projects. The examinations are divided into two papers: one is 2 hours 30 mins and one is 2 hours 45 mins.

Students have an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of both theory and practical skills.

FM 1. Exploring Film Form 20% of total A-Level
FM 2. British and American Film 30% of total A-Level
FM 3. Film Research and Creative Projects 25% of total A-Level
FM 4. Varieties of Film Experience: Issues and Debates 25% of total A-Level
In recent years students have visited the London Cinema Museum; they have taken part in (And won!) a national film review-writing competition; they have interviewed police officers and survivors of female genital mutilation and made a documentary on this, later raising over £10,000 for an anti-FGM billboard campaign. Students have also visited Ealing Studios and have been invited onto the set of a recent Guy Ritchie film, affording them the opportunity to understand the different environments within which films are created.
Some previous students have gone on to follow degree courses in Film Studies, Film Production and Technology, Film and TV, and Philosophy and Film at universities including Oxford Brookes, Birmingham City University, Kingston University, Stafford University, London Met Film School, and Emerson College (US).
No previous subject knowledge is required.

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