Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Film Studies

AS / A Level Film Studies

Student Matthew Appleyard wins Royal Television Society Film award with Film Studies coursework - click here to read about it.

Pictured from left: BBC presenter Chris Jackson, Festival Director Tony Edwards, Hartlepol student Matt Appleyard and Graeme Thompson, chair of RTS North East and the Border Centre. Picture credit: 2 Tone Photography Ltd.

Course Content

Film studies is a modern academic course designed to deepen your understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of films. The course aims to place your experiences and creative ideas at the centre of your studies and, at the same time, help you to develop transferable skills in analysis, research, writing, creativity and practical production that universities and employers value highly.

You will explore a range of British, American, world cinema releases, both independent and mainstream as well as documentary films, becoming extremely visually literate as you learn to analyse films in terms of their technical construction and storytelling methods. You will learn to deconstruct film sequences, discovering the subtle strategies filmmakers use to create meaning and emotional response for audiences. You will have the opportunity to become skilled filmmakers, shooting and editing your own productions, or develop the craft of writing screenplays, creating characters and worlds scene-byscene. Alongside these approaches you will explore film’s place in society, examining the way it develops or challenges our view of places, people and events, shaping our ideas and values in a way that makes it the most influential and important media form.

You will study a range of films from classic Hollywood to modern day Hollywood, including mainstream films, independent films and British films. This unit will also act as our introduction to film form, developing your grasp of how cinematography, sound, staging, editing and story structure are employed by filmmakers.

You will explore everything from silent film to digital experimental film, the power and importance of documentary filmmaking, European film and global film, concluding with detailed exploration of a compilation of short films. The films we analyse here are varied, challenging and exciting examples of what film outside Hollywood can offer.

You produce either a short film or a screenplay for a short film, together with a digitally photographed storyboard of a key section from your film. This is your opportunity to develop your creative and technical skills, demonstrating creative flair for telling stories and making meanings through practical production or creative writing.

Trips and Visits

Annual attendance at the Aesthetica short film festival in York where students attend screenings from amateur and professional filmmakers and attend masterclasses from professionals from all disciplines within the film industry.

Useful Subject Combinations

Film studies offers a unique crossover of analysis, creativity, research and technical skills development. As a result it combines well with English literature and English language, sharing their emphasis on textual analysis, the written communication of ideas, appreciation of storytelling methods and creative writing. Media studies combines well as it shares Film’s interest in exploring how representations of aspects of our lives are constructed and our interest in producing creative, practical moving image coursework. Film’s fascination with how images are made and make meanings aligns it with art and photography, while the exploration of the way film shapes attitudes, values and responses brings it close to psychology, politics, history and sociology. It is an extremely versatile subject.


Studying film enhances skills in analysis, communication, and practical production, resulting in a range of transferable skills valued by universities and employers alike. It is a highly respected academic subject that provides a very strong foundation for degree level study in general and employers also appreciate the breadth of analytical, research, communication, organisational, technical and creative skills the subject gives you. The subject can lead you towards academic study of film, cultural studies, journalism, screenwriting, film production, the television industry, advertising, photography, games design, web content production, teaching and many other progression routes.

You will enjoy and benefit from Film Studies A-Level if you: