A Level Film StudiesAn outline of the course with a focus on the AS year and some tasks for this morning to introduce you to Film Studies work.
Film Studies encourages you to both broadenand deepen your understanding of cinema.You want to do this because you like ﬁlms,you’re a fan, and you want to know more.You’ll learn more about how to read a ﬁlm,about the history of the ﬁlm industry inHollywood and in Britain, and about worldcinema.
The AS Film Studies course is organised intotwo units of work, one assessed bycoursework and one by an exam.The main focuses of the AS year are on howto read ﬁlm on a ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ leveland on British and Hollywood Cinema.
FM1 - Exploring Film FormThis is the coursework unit. You have toproduce two pieces of coursework.The ﬁrst piece is an essay, analysing a shortextract, maybe ﬁve minutes from a ﬁlm ofyour choice. You earn your marks byshowing how it uses technical elements ofﬁlm making like editing, sound andcinematography to make meaning for theaudience.We will do some work on a number of ﬁlmsto teach you how to produce this analysis,but the choice of ﬁlm you actually writeyour coursework piece on is up to you.
The second piece of coursework is a creativetask - you must produce either aphotographic storyboard for a ﬁlm sequence,or an extended step outline for a ﬁlmsequence (which is like a detailed shootingscript).To do this you must come up with the ideafor a new ﬁlm. You earn your marks byshowing in a practical way that youunderstand how ﬁlm uses micro elements(editing, sound, mise en scene) to makemeaning.
FM2 - British and American FilmThis is the examination unit. You will sit oneexam in the summer, which lasts for two anda half hours. There are three sections tothe exam:Producers and AudiencesTopics in British CinemaHollywood Cinema
Section A - Producers and AudiencesYou have to answer one question, from achoice of two, about the ﬁlm industry.Topics covered include the ﬁnances of howﬁlms are made, marketing, stars, cinemas andhome cinema equipment, cinema and theinternet, the British ﬁlm industry and ﬁlmand television.
Section B - Topics in British CinemaThe section is on ‘A Study in Identity:Borders and Belonging’ - looking at ideas of‘Britishness’ and ethnic minority experiencein modern Britain.You have to answer one question from achoice of two about narrative, genre andrepresentations.Exam ﬁlms - ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ and‘Ghosts’
Section C - Hollywood CinemaThis section asks you to compare twoAmerican ﬁlms which are thematically linkedto each other.You have to answer one question from achoice of two, again about narrative, genreand representations.Exam Films - ‘Batman’ and ‘The DarkKnight’
Assessment40% of the mark is from the courseworkunit and and 60% is from the examinationunit.Most of the ﬁrst term will be spentconcentrating on coursework, with someinitial thoughts on the exam work. The examwork will form the focus of the rest of theyear.
A2 Film StudiesThe A2 Film Course has two further units:FM3 - Film Research and a Creative Project,which is a coursework unit.FM4 - Varieties of Film Experience: Issuesand Debates, which has sections on WorldCinema, Cinema and Emotional Impact, and aclose study of one set ﬁlm.
We spend time in class watching whole ﬁlmsand ﬁlm extracts, writing and re-writing,note taking, having whole class and smallgroup discussions, reading, and workingonline.All being well we will have a busy and activeVirtual Learning Environment so we can do alot of our work online.
Although there are set ﬁlms and set topicsfor the exams, you get to set the agenda forall of your coursework.You choose the ﬁlm you write about for youranalytical essay.You choose the kind of ﬁlm you work on forthe creative project.
Introductory Task - NarrativeThe purpose of this task is to start youthinking beyond the obvious - how do youknow what is going on in a ﬁlm? What cluesare you actually picking up on?Watch the opening of Dirty Pretty Things(the clip is about 8 minutes long) and answerthese questions:-What is this ﬁlm about? How do you know?Who are the important characters? How doyou know?When and where is it set? How do youknow?
Introductory Task - Close ReadingA chance to think more closely about how ﬁlmstell stories.Watch the clip from ‘Audition’Look through the microanalysis of the ﬁlmWatch the clip from ‘City of God’Fill in the table with information about how theﬁlm uses technical elements of ﬁlm-making tomake meaning
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