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A Level Film Studies at Prince Henry's Grammar School, Otley

Course description

Despite the huge explosion in digital media, film remains both a major art form and a dynamic billion dollar global industry. It is a powerful and culturally significant medium and Film Studies students will study their set texts in much the same way that English Literature students study novels and poetry.   Film studies allows students to engage with a diverse range of critically acclaimed films and in doing so to develop their analytical and textual analysis skills, appreciating how film reflects and shapes important ideas in our culture. 

Course content

This course will introduce students to a wide variety of films, offering opportunities to study mainstream American films from the past and present as well as a range of British, American independent and global films. Students will also study silent film, gaining an understanding of the film industry from its early years to its emerging digital future.

The course offers a wide range of set texts for study, covering a range of historical, cultural and institutional contexts. There are classic films from Hollywood's golden era (Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958),Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942)), as well as more modern Hollywood classics such as Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) and Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979). Contemporary American film is represented in both its mainstream form - Inception (Nolan, 2010), No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers 2007) - and from the independent sector, including Winter's Bone (Granik, 2010) and Frances Ha! (Baumbach, 2012). There is also a focus on British film, offering the chance to study acclaimed British directors such as Andrea Arnold (Fishtank, 2009), Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 1996) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, 2004). The second paper features topics guaranteed to widen every student's horizons, focusing on the Silent Era, world film and also films that have pushed the boundaries of what we understand film to be, including experimental films by the likes Jean-Luc Godard, Mike Figgis and Wong Kar-wai.

Production work is an integral part of this course. Studying a diverse range of films is designed to give learners the opportunity to apply their knowledge and understanding of film to their own filmmaking and screenwriting. This is intended to enable learners to create high quality work as well as provide an informed perspective to their study.



Paper 1 – Written Exam (2 hours 30 minutes - 35%) - Varieties of Film Making

Students will study a total of six films from the following areas:

A. Hollywood 1930 – 1990

B. American Film since 2005

C. British Film since 1995


Paper 2 – Written Exam (2 hours 30 minutes - 35%) - Global Film-making Perspectives

Section A – Global Film – one European film and one film produced outside Europe will be studied

Section B – Documentary Film

Section C – Silent Cinema

Section D – Experimental film (1960 – 2000)


Non Examined Assessment (30%)

Students produce either a short film or a screen play and story board for a short film  - including an evaluative analysis of their work.

Entry requirements

It is not necessary to have studied Media Studies at GCSE to take A level Film Studies but it is essential that students choosing this course have a real enthusiasm for film. In order to cope with the demands of the course, students should have gained at least grade 4 in English at GCSE.

Future opportunities

This qualification is a useful starting point for those who wish to study Film, Film production, Media studies or Communication at University. It is also a good choice for those intending to study Journalism, Marketing, Business Studies, Advertising or Leisure Studies.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 15 October 2018
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September