Film Studies - Year 12 and 13
Film A level - WJEC - specification code 318101
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About Film Studies
Students develop their knowledge of how filmmakers use a range of elements to construct their films, often expressing complex ideas and emotions through them. Including ideas of how cinema can be used to express comments of political, historical and social issues. The key elements of film form consist of cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing, sound and performance and they provide an important starting point for learners' study of film at A level. This in turn will help students to appreciate the aesthetic of film, in essence the ‘look and feel’ of a film. A significant aspect of narrative study is based on how narrative construction aligns spectators with characters and issues and how it positions spectators to adopt particular values, attitudes and points of view conveyed in the film. The way filmmakers select and construct visual elements will then manipulate and position the audience into a specific and focused viewpoint.
In making sense of film, learners explore how films create meaning and generate response through all aspects of film form (both its key elements and its structural elements). This includes the possibility that some films give rise to several possible meanings, which in turn generate a wide variety of responses. Some of these different meanings and responses will relate to a film’s representation of, for example, gender, ethnicity, age and other aspects of culture and society and to the ideological nature of those representations. These ideas and issues can then be explored further through the creative aspect of the course, where students develop their own short films and evaluate their success at creating a specific response in an audience.
Breakdown of course by terms:
Autumn term (Year 12)
Students will be introduced to Film Studies by focusing on the composition of films, and how micro and macro elements create meaning, as well as workshops in practical film skills.
Students will then go on to complete micro analysis written assignments, where students write an analysis of film extracts focusing on mise en scene, performance, sound, editing or cinematography. Students then use their knowledge to plan and create a short film that explores how micro elements create meaning for audiences following the brief set by the exam board.
Students also begin covering set film texts for Component 2 – Global Filmmaking Perspectives. They will look at European and British film, identifying elements of narrative, ideology and the debate surrounding auteurship.
Spring term (Year 12)
Upon completion of the written assignments and initial practical project, students will then write an evaluative analysis of their work, identifying how they have been inspired by a selection of short films. Students then go on to work on more set filmic texts, Component 1 – Varieties of Film and Filmmaking, covering classic, mainstream and independent US cinema. Students engage in debate around how meaning and representations are created, as well as considering issues of context and spectatorship.
Summer term (Year 12)
Students will continue to explore both component 1 and 2, developing their knowledge and further engaging with complex exam style questions, looking at ways to structure work, focusing on extended writing techniques and applying filmic knowledge to course reading.
Looking ahead, students will be covering the following content in the second year of the course.
Autumn term (Year 13)
Students will review the work completed in year one, moving to a focus on developing their non-examined component. Students will develop their practical work, focusing on editing techniques and reflective practice to ensure the work is of the highest quality. Students will also see a wider selection of short films to develop their understanding of genre, narrative, structure and spectatorship. Students continue their work on Component 1, extending their understanding of Hollywood cinema across history from the 1930’s to present day.
Spring term (Year 13)
Students continue their work on Component 2, looking at Chinese cinema and exploring its use of colour and narrative to convey context. Students have the opportunity to further develop their productions and written evaluations, as well as beginning to explore Experimental cinema for Component 1. Students focus on how structure can alter an audience’s perspective as well as how intertextuality changes the meaning for spectators. Students also explore Documentary and Silent Cinema, looking at form in particular and audience response.
Summer term (Year 13)
Preparation for written exam techniques and revision, including after school sessions.
Students work on revision methods, extended writing, exam question interpretation and working out ways to deal with the pressures of time.