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Film Studies A Level at Wyke Sixth Form College

Course description

This course is for anyone who has a keen interest in Film and wants to understand how the film industry works, how to analyse films, how to make films, and how films ‘work’ for audiences.

This course will be of interest to anyone who enjoys the cinema but wants to know far more about the aesthetic qualities of film: the narrative structure, and the use of cinematography, editing, light and sound, and how all these different elements combine to create meaning and generate a strong emotional response.

This course will also be of interest to anyone who wants to develop their skills of analysis and learn to think critically.  Film Studies is a subject intended for those who like to become involved and learn through active participation.  Lastly, for all these reasons, Film Studies complements a range of other subjects very well, such as English Literature, Media Studies, Psychology, Sociology, and Art and Design.

Course content


(2 hour exam – 35% of A Level qualification)

Film History (Section A) concentrates on the development of film form within American film, spanning from the Silent Era through to 1990. Learners will undertake close analyses of the construction of meaning and response by both filmmaker and spectator in at least 3 set texts from:

  • the Silent Era – set texts include Birth of a Nation (1915), The Gold Rush (1925), and The Mask of Zorro (1920).
  • 1930–1960 – set texts include Citizen Kane (1941), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Stagecoach (1939), and Vertigo(1958).
  • 1961–1990 – set texts include 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Raging Bull (1980), and E.T. (1982).

As part of Film History (Section B) learners will also study at least two set films from two major European film movements or stylistic developments:

  • Soviet montage – set texts include Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1929) and Man with a Movie Camera(1929).
  • German expressionism – set texts include The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Nosferatu (1922) and Metropolis(1927).
  • Italian neo-realism – set texts include Bicycle Thieves (1948), Rome, Open City (1945)and La Strada (1954).
  •  French new wave – set texts include The 400 Blows (1959), A Bout de Soufflé (1960) and Cleo from 5 to 7(1962).



(2 hour exam – 35% of A Level qualification)

Learners will further develop knowledge and understanding of key critical approaches to film and of narrative, genre, representations and spectatorship.  Learners will study at least one set film from each of the categories below:

  • Contemporary British – set texts include Pride (2014), Ex-Machina (2014), and We Need to Talk About Kevin(2011).
  • Contemporary US – set texts include Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Hunger Games (2012) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
  • Documentary – set texts include A Syrian Love Story (2015) and The Act of Killing (2012).

Section C of the exam tackles film ideology, and requires students to trace a thematic concept from a choice of ‘Outsiders’, ‘Family and Home’ and ‘Conflict’ across films from different cinematic origins. For example, studying ‘Family and Home’, students may cover the following set texts:

  • Non-European Non-English Language – A Separation (2011).
  • English Language (Non-US) – Room (2015).
  • US Independent – The Tree of Life (2011).

Learners must study one compilation of short British fiction films and one compilation of short British experimental films.  Learners then have the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills through:

  • the production of a 5 minute short film
  • an evaluative analysis of the production in relation to professionally produced set short films.

Please note that due to A Level reform the exam board and set texts for A Level Film Studies at Wyke are subject to confirmation, and may change prior to 2017 entry.

Entry requirements

- At Wyke all students receive a face to face application interview to the College before their GCSE results
and also a face to face enrolment interview following their GCSE results – therefore individual’s unique
circumstances can be considered – the criteria presented are for automatic enrolment only.
- Grade 5 in GCSE is seen as a good grade C
- For A level courses it is expected that students will achieve grade 5 or higher in English and Maths GCSE (by
2019 it is likely that many universities will require achievement at this level).
- Any student not achieving at least a 4 in Maths is required to resit this course
- In addition to an English and Maths GCSE a minimum of 3 other GCSE subjects at grade C or above are
required for level 3 study
- Each level 3 courses has individual entry requirements which are detailed
- Vocational courses at level 3 can be accessed with grade 4 in GCSE English
- Vocational level 2 courses are considered only for progression within that vocational subject area 


Each Film Studies class takes place in a dedicated Film Studies classroom, with the resources appropriate to the course immediately to hand. Our students also have full access to the range of equipment and facilities available for Film and Media students to use in the Editing Suite.

Teaching and learning combine presentations and discussions, with film analysis, group work, research exercises, skills-based activities, and practical work drawing upon student creativity.  We expect students to be actively involved and encourage independent learning and critical thinking.

Future opportunities

The media industries in this country employ over half a million people, and contribute enormously to the UK economy, bringing in vast revenues from overseas sales of British products.  Consequently, there are substantial career opportunities for those with a background in Film Studies.


Because this course combines academic study with the practical and creative elements of film production, it provides an excellent foundation for those who wish to go on to study various academic subjects at university, such as Film Studies and Media Studies, but also to those who prefer to study practical/vocational degree courses such as Film and Media Production, Film and Television Production, and Broadcast Media Production.  Moreover, because of the aesthetic, design and marketing elements of the course, and its focus on the analysis of set texts, Film Studies complements a variety of other subjects, for example: English Literature, Sociology, Psychology, and Art and Design.

The subject provides more than just knowledge: it provides training in analytical thinking, and develops a variety of transferable skills.  Industry and commerce want people who can think for themselves, absorb a lot of information, ask critical questions, analyse problems, research information, present reports and communicate clearly.  All these skills can be acquired through the study of Film.

Consequently, the study of Film is suitable for students intending to pursue a broad range of careers in, for example, journalism, broadcasting, the law, marketing, the heritage industry, the leisure and tourism industries, and publishing.  It is also highly appropriate for students intending to pursue business or managerial careers.

Finally, for students wanting a career in the film and television industries, there is a considerable range of career paths available: producer, director, editor, cinematographer, sound engineer, production design, set design, general researcher, location research, lighting engineer, legal department, marketing, script development, etc.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Wyke Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 09 November 2016

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