What Is Film Studies?

A little over a hundred years ago a number of pioneering scientists and photographers created the world’s first moving image.  Little did they know that within a few short years their primitive, flickering experiments would evolve into a sophisticated form of visual communication with universal appeal, and would become the basis for a global entertainment industry.

Films are not just entertainment and money, however. Films offer a view on the world; they are artistic and cultural reflections of their time and place; they can inform and inspire, and offer insights into the world comparable with the greatest works of literature and art.

Throughout this course, students will examine a range of films, from the silent era to the present day, and consider the ways in which image and sound have been used to create meaning, as well as explore the social and historical contexts of their production.

They are introduced to the contexts and concepts of film-making and how they are used to create meaning, including, genre, representation, narrative, aesthetics and spectatorship. They also develop a working knowledge and understanding of the micro-elements of film form: cinematography editing, sound and performance.

How Is It Studied?

OCR Film Studies is taught within the one-year A-Level programme.

In the first term, students will learn the elements of Film Form, which will be explored through a range of historic and contemporary film texts.  They will then apply this knowledge through the study of several set film texts, selected by the exam board.

In the second term, students will start to develop their personal production, building on the knowledge and applying it in a practical way.  They will learn various critical approaches to studying film, which they will explore through further historical and contemporary case studies.

In the final term, students will submit their completed Coursework Production, and spend time preparing for the final exams.

How is A-Level Film Studies Assessed?


Component Marks Duration Weighting insert text
Film history (01) 105 2 hours 35%
Critical approaches to film (02)* 105 2 hours 35%
Making short film (03/04)* 90 30% Non-exam assessment

What Do I Need to Study It?

There is no requirement for previous study.  Students will be expected to have a keen interest in film and visual arts, as well as some critical ability.  As an essay-based humanities subject, a C grade or above at English GCSE – or equivalent – is essential.

What Should I Study With Film Studies?

Film Studies goes well with a broad range of subjects.  Suitable subject choices might include: Photography, English Literature, History of Art, Philosophy, Sociology, History.

What Can I do With A-Level Film Studies?

The analytical skills developed throughout the course are not limited to Film Studies alone and would offer appropriate grounding for a wide range of degree-level humanities courses.  In addition to this, the creative component would provide portfolio material for practical art or creative writing programmes.