Film Studies

Course aims

For this specification, these underpinning elements have been used to create a framework for studying film, which learners will be able to apply to all the films they explore:

  1. The key elements of film form – cinematography, mise en scène, editing, sound and performance
  2. The structural elements of film form – narrative and genre
  3. How film creates meaning and generates response, including how it functions as a medium of representation
  4. Film as an aesthetic medium
  5. The spectator and spectatorship
  6. The social, cultural, political, historical and institutional, including production, contexts of film
  7. Critical approaches to studying film
  8. Key debates and filmmakers’ theories of film.

Entry requirements

You will require a grade 6 in English and a keen interest in films, in addition to the general entry requirements.

Course content

Component 1 – American film

This component compares two mainstream Hollywood films and introduces learners to US indie films. The comparative study will be focused on the core areas of study, foregrounding a comparison of contexts – how contexts are reflected in film, how knowledge of contexts increases understanding and how films generate meanings and responses. Learners will thus explore the relationship between contexts and films through considering key elements of film (cinematography, mise en scène, editing and sound), the structural elements of film (narrative construction and where relevant, genre), aesthetics and representation issues. For the US indie film, spectatorship issues will also be covered.

Component 2: European film

Moving away from the dominance of Hollywood cinema, this component takes an in depth look at two British films and one non-English language European film. Again the key and structural elements of the films will be covered, as well as contextual issues and narrative (British films only).

Component 3 – Production

The production may take the form of either a short film or a screenplay for a short film. The screenplay must be accompanied by a digitally-photographed storyboard of a key sequence from the screenplay in order to demonstrate how the screenplay will be realised. Learners must also provide an evaluative analysis of the production, which analyses and evaluates the production in relation to other professionally-produced films or screenplays.

Course assessment

Written examinations and coursework.


Recommended textbooks to be advised by your tutor. Access to DVD and video player. Extensive use will be made of the Internet and relevant websites will be an important source of material to study this course.


Higher Education for most courses, especially film, media and journalism. Career progression to film and media production, teaching and journalism.