Film Studies
A level

The course is an academic study of film designed to develop an understanding of a diverse range of cinema. It will explore film practice within a social, political and cultural context, applying critical approaches to a range of cinema. Film will also be studied as an aesthetic art form via a series of key analytical techniques.

Across the two years you will study a wide range of cinema exploring key movements, as well as complete a creative piece of coursework. Units will include:

Examined Units

Component 1: Varieties of Film and Filmmaking

A) Hollywood 1930 - 1990A study of the golden age of cinema and the subsequent changes to the industry.

B) American Cinema since 2005A study of spectatorship theory and how films are shaped by the ideologies that inform them.

c) British Film since 1995A study of narrative and how directors use it to engage and challenge audiences.


Component 2: Global Filmmaking Perspectives

A) Global CinemaA study of global cinema and how films from around the world are shaped by contextual issues.

B) Documentary FilmA study of documentary techniques and how filmmakers use them to engage audiences. 

C) Film Movements - Silent CinemaA study of the impact of cultural movements such as realism and expressionism on early cinema.

D) Film Movements - Experimental FilmA study of alternative cinema and how it reinvents the way cinema is constructed.


Coursework Unit

Component 3: Production - In the production unit you will  develop your creative skills, building on your knowledge of cinema and film as an aesthetic artform. You will study a range of short films as part of your research and then produce your own short film and evaluation. This will be in one of the following formats:


  • A Short Film (4-5 minutes)


  • A Screenplay for a short film (1800 words) AND a digitally photographed storyboard for a section of the film


  • An Evaluative analysis making reference to the short films studied as part of your research.

You will be encouraged to engage with a wide range of films, developing skills of observation, critical analysis and personal reflection, as well as developing your creativity and practical skills in filmmaking, editing and screenwriting.  You will analyse films from a wide range of time periods and countries.  You will undertake tasks individually, in groups and will be encouraged to participate in whole class discussions as well as some class presentations.

We use a range of teaching methods to encourage you to engage in a range of issues that require you to think, question and challenge the films you have studied and the messages they present.

Examination (70%)

Component 1: Varieties of Film and Filmmaking (35%) - Written Examination 2.5 hours

A) Hollywood 1930 - 1990 - (40 marks)

B) American Cinema since 2005 - (40 marks)

C) British Film since 1995 (40 marks)


Component 2: Global Filmmaking Perspectives (35%) - Written Examination 2.5 hours

A) Global Cinema - (40 marks)

B) Documentary Film - (20 marks)

C) Film Movements - Silent Cinema - (20 marks)

D) Film Movements - Experimental Film - (20 marks)


Coursework (30%)

Component 3: Production - Non-exam Assessment

  • A Short Film (4-5 minutes) OR  Screenplay for a short film (1800 words) AND a digitally photographed storyboard for a section - (40 marks)
  • Written Evaluation (1800 words) - (20 marks) 

As a facilitating subject, film studies sits comfortably alongside a wide range of subjects.  It is a humanities subject and naturally complements other similar subjects including history, English literature, English language, philosophy, politics and media studies, or can be studied instead of them on a broader programme.

The course is creative and does contain coursework (30%) and may be suited to those students wishing to further develop in this area, or combine it with other creative courses such as photography, graphic design, music technology and digital media.  However, please note that 70% assessment is via examination based on theoretical frameworks.

As a facilitating subject, Film Studies creates many opportunities within multiple different pathways.
“The UK’s film, TV, animation, VFX and games industries are growing strongly. They are therefore continuing to look to recruit talented young people to support their growth." (Tim Weiss, ScreenSkills) 
However, due to both the creative and academic nature of the course, multiple progression paths are possible.
  • A-level Film Studies opens the door to courses across different Faculties in Higher Education - at a number of top universities.
  • Job roles within Film, TV, Video Games, Music etc - from producer to editor and many more.
  • Theoretical pathways such as Film Criticism, Journalism, and Education.
  • Job roles within the broader Creative Industries (Marketing, Advertising, and PR).
The creative industries are the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, accounting for 1 in 11 jobs in the UK.
The increased range of ways in which content can be seen - in cinemas, on TV, or through streaming platforms like Netflix - means there's a greater demand for skills in the industry than ever before. This demand does not exist purely in the creative roles but across the spectrum of professions within the industry.

Please see below for careers and labour market information for film studies - use the refresh buttons to find out about different courses and careers, and use the left and right arrows to view more detailed information.

You can find the prep work for this course at

Q: What is the difference between the A level media and A level film?
A: Both A level film and A level media are academic subjects and both are assessed via 70% exam and 30% coursework.  There are some similarities in the initial analytical skills you develop, but thereafter the subjects are quite different.

Film studies focuses on developing your understanding of how films reflect the time and place in which they were made and where they sit within a broader film history.  We explore films in great depth, as complete texts, in the same way you would study a book in English literature.  We analyse how they create meaning and how the directors shape our response to them.  We use this knowledge later in the course to help you make your own short films.

Media studies explores a wide range of media texts considering how they are constructed to create meaning and appeal to their target audience, as well as their ability to reflect the discourse of wider culture.  Film is explored in media studies, but from the perspective of marketing and advertising.  If you are looking to explore films in depth and make your own film, then film studies is the course for you.

Q: Can I study film studies with either A level media or one of the digital media courses?
A: Film can be studied alongside any of the other courses that we offer in the department.  A level film studies and media studies do complement each other and the learning in each will support the other, and they are different enough for those students who have a passion in these areas.

Film studies can also be studied alongside either of our digital media courses. Our digital media courses provide practical experience to help prepare you for industry via the completion of a wide range of practical projects in different media sectors.  By combining film studies with one of these courses, you will develop the theoretical understanding of filmmaking and then be able to apply it to the practical projects worked on.

Q: Do I have to have studied film studies at GCSE to take it at A level?
A: There is no requirement to have studied film at GCSE.  Our introduction to the course is all about learning about film form and how to use film language to analyse film.  If you have studied film at GCSE, you will have covered some of this but as this is an A level, we will explore these areas in much greater depth.

Q: Do I need to buy my own kit or software in order to complete coursework?
A: Although some students choose to buy their own equipment and software, this isn’t an expectation.  The department is fully equipped with all the resources students will need to complete their coursework, both in terms of equipment, which can be loaned and software (the full Adobe suite) which can be accessed via one of our four computer suites.

Q: Do I need prior knowledge of the software or equipment?
A: No prior knowledge of equipment or software is required.  On the course, you will learn how to structure your narrative in preparation for making your short film or writing your screenplay.  If you decide to make a film for coursework, our team of industry trained technicians will guide you through the whole process, from how to use the vast array of equipment we have available, through to how to master the software.  You will also have access to our dedicated Youtube channel, with training videos that have been specifically designed to support you.

To find out the latest information from the department, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, @f6mediafilm. 

You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel:

Exam Board


Entry Requirements

  • You should have at least a grade 4 in GCSE English language and GCSE English literature.
  • You should have at least a grade 4 in another essay based subject.
  • A genuine passion for film.
  • There is no specific GCSE maths requirement to study this course.

Employability Skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Creative skills
  • Management skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Developing a deeper understanding of the world around you
  • Presentation skills

Course Resources


10x speed SD card

SD card reader

Print credit - £5 initially but further top ups will be needed throughout the year

An external hard drive or USB stick