Film Studies

Departmental approach to the curriculum

The United Kingdom is one of the world leaders in film production. In recent years,  films have grown to account for almost 25% of global box office revenues. Traditionally the British  film industry has been located in our region, and nearby, we have studios such as Warner Brothers and Pinewood, as well the proposed 700 million pound Sunset Studios development at Waltham Cross.  Studying Film at Rickmansworth  is a great way to develop  the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in an industry that is both an essential driver of economic growth and a key cultural export.

Film Studies  itself is a relatively  new, and often misunderstood, academic discipline.  At its heart is a rich and varied study of film that seeks to develop students into critical and reflective spectators. At GCSE and A-Level we cover a wide range of films, produced in different time periods and settings, always seeking to deconstruct how meaning is shaped through the core elements of film.


 

What do the A-level  and GCSE  courses entail? 

The GSCE course centres on developing the student’s ability to read the medium of film, equipping them with the language and analytical skills necessary to understand and appreciate film from a critical perspective. We study a range of films looking at the development and changes within Hollywood, as well as  looking at different global film making perspectives. We focus on the core elements of film-making techniques, teaching students how to analyse cinematography, editing, sound and mise en scene in order to explain how  an overall effect is achieved. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their own practical and creative skills, producing screen plays, storyboards and original short films.

The A-level builds on the skills and knowledge acquired at GCSE, but extends the concepts further, enabling students  to develop a more theoretical and conceptualised understanding of film. Again there is a wide variety of Hollywood films and Global Films, however students also explore complex critical ideas such auteur theory, ideology and spectatorship.  Again, students will be able to hone their practical skill and creative skills through the non-examined component (NEA), where they have the opportunity to create their own screenplays and short films. 

The combination of theory, analysis and film-making ensures that both our GCSE and A Level courses provide an excellent basis for future study or apprenticeship in the field. However, Film Studies also provides an opportunity for those passionate about cinema to extend and develop their knowledge, while simultaneously honing their critical and analytical writing skills.

Year 10 and 11

In Years 10 and 11 students follow the Eduqas exam board. This course is comprised of 2 exam components and one piece of Non-Examined Assessment. Further details about these components are as follows:

 

Component 1: Key Developments in US Film 

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

35% of qualification

This component assesses knowledge and understanding of three US films chosen from a range of options.

Assessment consists of four questions on one pair of US mainstream films and one US independent film:


Section A: US film comparative study

• one stepped question on the first of the chosen pair of films (produced between 1930 and 1960)

• one stepped question on the second of the chosen pair of films (produced between 1961 and 1990)

• one question requiring a comparison of the chosen pair of films


Section B: Key developments in film and film technology

• one multi-part question on developments in film and film technology


Section C: US independent film

• one question on one US independent film

 

Component 2: Global Film: Narrative, Representation and Film Style 

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

35% of qualification

This component assesses knowledge and understanding of three global films produced outside the US chosen from a range of options.

Assessment consists of three questions in three sections:

• Section A: one stepped question on one global English language film
• Section B: one stepped question on one global non-English language film
• Section C: one stepped question on one contemporary UK film.

 

Component 3: Production Non-exam assessment

30% of qualification

This component assesses the ability to apply knowledge and understanding of film to a production and its accompanying evaluative analysis. 

Students produce:

• one genre-based film extract (either from a film or from a screenplay) 

• one evaluative analysis of the production, where learners analyse and evaluate their production in relation to comparable, professionally-produced films or screenplays.

Year 12 and 13

Film Studies

Students follow the Eduqas exam board. Students will study Component 1 and Component 2, consisting of 11 films. Component 3 - 30% of their final grade - is a practical grade. This can be either a screenplay or a film and will also comprise an 1800 word essay, produced under exam conditions. Details of the Film A Level components are as follows: 

 

Component 1: Varieties of film and filmmaking 

Written examination: 21⁄2 hours

35% of qualification

This component assesses knowledge and understanding of six feature-length films.

Section A: Hollywood 1930-1990 (comparative study)

One question from a choice of two, requiring reference to two Hollywood films, one from the Classical Hollywood period (1930-1960) and the other from the New Hollywood period (1961-1990).

Section B: American film since 2005 (two-film study)

One question from a choice of two, requiring reference to two American films, one mainstream film and one contemporary independent film.

Section C: British film since 1995 (two-film study)

One question from a choice of two, requiring reference to two British films.

 

Component 2: Global filmmaking perspectives 

Written examination: 21⁄2 hours

35% of qualification

This component assesses knowledge and understanding of five feature-length films (or their equivalent).

Section A: Global film (two-film study)

One question from a choice of two, requiring reference to two global films: one European and one produced outside Europe.

Section B: Documentary film

One question from a choice of two, requiring reference to one documentary film.

Section C: Film movements – Silent cinema

One question from a choice of two, requiring reference to one silent film or group of films.

Section D: Film movements – Experimental film (1960-2000)

One question from a choice of two, requiring reference to one film option.

Component 3: Production Non-exam assessment 

30% of qualification

This component assesses one production and its evaluative analysis. Students produce: either a short film (4-5 minutes) or a screenplay for a short film (1600-1800 words) plus a digitally photographed storyboard of a key section from the screenplay and an evaluative analysis essay (1600 - 1800 words).

Long Term Curriculum Overviews

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

This document will provide a visual overview of the department's curriculum from Key Stages 3 to 5. This is in a student-friendly format to support them in their understanding the of the department's curriculum. 

Big Picture Curriculum Map - Film Studies

Assessment

Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 4 and 5.Assessment Matrix - Film Studies

How can you help your child succeed in film studies?

The simplest way to support your child in their study of film is to watch great examples of film making and discuss what you watch. Being able to articulate not only why a film is of merit in terms of plot and characterisation, but also in terms of production, lighting, cinematography and sound, is what helps students to become informed and creative film makers. Discussions around the messages found within films and the receptions of differing audiences over time, can help students of film to have a real appreciation of film as an expressive and powerful art form.

Helpful websites and further information