Film Studies at Gateshead College
Film Studies is a fast-growing subject, both at AS/A Level and in universities. Working on the kind of films they are probably already familiar with, students go beyond passive watching and achieve a deep understanding of the film industry.
Film Studies suits students who enjoy watching films. However, it should be stressed at this point that Film Studies is not a film club but an academic approach to film-making. Students should therefore be interested in finding out what goes on behind the scenes. Moreover, a large part of the assessment consists of essay-writing, so to do well in Film Studies you should have proved yourself in GCSE subjects such as English Literature
In the first AS unit, we work at film level.
- We study film technique (mise en scene, cinematography, sound, editing) and different genres.
- We look at how filmmakers use technique to create meaning, and students apply it to design a scene from their own, imaginary film.
The second unit explores film industries and audiences.
- If you want to make a film, you don't go about it in the same way in Hollywood and in Britain.
- As a spectator, you don't necessarily want to see the same kind of films when you are sixteen or sixty, if you are male or female etc. These are the kind of issues we look at.
- In this unit, we also study films from Britain and Hollywood – this part of the course is very similar to studying literature, ie we consider characters, narration, themes, etc.
In the second year, we study the same aspects more in depth, and widening the scope to include world cinema.
- As part of their coursework, students research the work of a director and eventually produce their own short film.
The 2nd unit looks at foreign films and includes topics such as empowering women.
- In the industry section we consider issues such as audiences' emotional response.
- We also study one film in depth, bringing together all the aspects covered elsewhere in the course throughout the two years.
5 GCSEs grade A*-C with including English and mathematics with an average of grade B.
Coursework, Exam, Case Studies, Essays
Universities offer an increasing number of Film Studies courses, ranging from very practical to very theoretical. There are also many courses in the media/communication area.
At first, some of our students are surprised at how seriously we take Film Studies. However, they quickly recover and enjoy the mix of approaches – technical, business, literary – and the variety of activities in class – film-watching, discussion, structured note-taking, experimenting with filming and editing.
As we practise exam questions throughout the course, a common side-effect is for students to improve their essay-writing skills in a fairly painless way!
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gateshead College directly.