Film Studies

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If you are enthusiastic about cinema and would like to develop greater understanding and appreciation of films and acquire practical skills, then this course is for you. You will study a wide range of films, both mainstream and independent, American and British, as well as non-English language films. You will learn about a variety of film forms including silent films, short films and experimental films. There is also practical coursework with students able to either make a film or write a screenplay and create a storyboard.make a film or write a screenplay and create a storyboard.

You will study and be assessed on the following three components over a two-year period:

Component 1

Varieties of film and filmmaking (Hollywood 1930-1990; Contemporary Mainstream and Independent US film; British film)

(35% of qualification) This component assesses your knowledge and understanding of six films including La La Land and Trainspotting. Specialist topics include film spectatorship and looking at films from different ideological perspectives.

Component 2

Global filmmaking perspectives (Global Film; Documentary Film; Silent cinema; Experimental Film)

(35% of qualification) This component assesses your knowledge and understanding of five films including Daisies and Mustang. Specialist topics include experimental approaches to narrative and the importance of digital technologies in making documentaries.

Component 3

Production Coursework

(30% of qualification) - In this component students will apply their knowledge and understanding of how films are constructed to their own film or screenwriting.

  • Production: Either a short film or a screenplay for a short film plus a digitally photographed storyboard of a key section from the screenplay.
  • Evaluative Analysis: An evaluative analysis of the production in comparison with other professionally produced short films or short film screenplays.

Zak Thorpe

Studied: A Level Film Studies & BTEC Creative Media Production (2013-2015)

Progression: Employment

Zak left Varndean and went straight into employment working as a builder, whilst at the same time working on his filmmaking portfolio by carrying out freelance work. In 2016 he landed his first full time filmmaking job with 'Dragonfly Productions', working with them for a couple of months until unfortunately they could no longer afford to keep him on. He then went back to freelancing whilst working as a builder again and in 2017 produced his own showreel which he sent out to numerous filmaking companies. In January 2018, after numerous emails and eventually gaining an interview, he was offered the position of Junior Filmmaker with 'The Progress Film Company', where he has now worked on some really exciting projects all over the country, including filming Graham Norton for publicity about his new book. The company also gave him the opportunity to work on a project of his choice with their backing, so has been working on his first ever conservation documentary and has even had my first shoot abroad in Frankfurt, Germany.

Zak says: "It was my Varndean tutor, Nik, who actually gave me the confidence not to pursue university and to start looking for work instead. She felt I had a good chance, as I had been teaching myself filmmaking from my early teens. I now hope to keep developing my skills as a filmmaker and start to focus in on what I am most suited for. The production of my first conservation documentary will be a great learning experience, as well as being a great creative outlet."

Course Essentials

Courses Available
A Level
Entry Requirements
How The Course is Assessed
70% exam, 30% coursework
Career Pathways
Students can progress to Film and related courses at university, as well as a wide range of other courses. This course can contribute to you creating a showreel using industry standard software Adobe Premiere Pro when applying for production courses/work experience/apprenticeships.
Transferable Skills
Communication; teamwork; project management; interpretation; planning; script writing; filming and editing.
Other Information
There are guest speakers leading sessions on scriptwriting eg Will Jewell (South Coast) and Study Days at Depot Cinema in Lewes where film experts guide you through some of the set films. Students are also eligible to apply to become Young Programmers at Depot where they can learn about cinema programming and film marketing.
Enquiries To
Lisa Wardle: lww@varndean.ac.uk