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What follows is merely a broad overview of the demands of the WJEC and the possible order of our coming to grips with it.

The syllabus is a new one for this students taking As.Of course the WJEC have the full spec on PDF and it can be down loaded from here. Students will find it most useful when clarifying exact word lengths and precise technical demands. We would hope to incorporate these fine details elsewhere on the site. This is all part of work in progress.....


Unit 1: FM1  (40%) Internal Assessment.

Exploring Film Form

• One analysis of how the micro aspects of a chosen extract from a film of

candidate's choice produce meanings and responses

(1500 words) (30)

• One creative project based on a film sequence or short film

(50: sequence or short film [40]/reflective analysis [10])

raw mark total: 80

Unit 2: FM2  (60%) External Assessment

2½ hours Written Paper

British and American Film

Three questions, one from each section:

Section A: Response to stimulus material set by Awarding Body based on

producers and audiences of film (40)

Section B: Topics in British Film (40)

Section C: US Film - Comparative study of two films (40)

Paper raw mark total: 120

The aims of AS are:

(a) to develop students' interest in, appreciation and knowledge of film, specifically through studying

• the film - the way film as an audio-visual form of creative expression constructs meaning, provokes varieties of spectator response and raises issues of personal, social, cultural, political and ethical significance;

and through studying

• the film's producers and audiences - the relationship between the

production and consumption of films, with particular reference to

Hollywood and British film; to provide students with a foundation in the analysis of film, together with subject specialist language, and to introduce them to creative and production skills.

Which is grand! and just as it should be...

The board set out the aims of the syllabus with admirable clarity below.

The highlightings are ours.

Advanced level specs


Unit 3: FM3   25 % Internal Assessment

Film Research and Creative Projects

• a small-scale research project (40)

• creative project (60 - 45 product/15 reflective analysis)

Paper raw mark total: 100

Unit 4: FM4   25 % External Assessment:

2 ¾ hour Written Paper

Varieties of Film Experience: Issues and Debates

Three questions, one from each section:

Section A: World Cinema topics (35)

Section B: Spectatorship topics (35)

Section C: Single Film - Critical Study (30)

Paper raw mark total: 100

FM3 Small-Scale Research Project

Candidates will be required to carry out a small-scale research project.

The project is designed to develop research skills.

It will be based on one focus film, making appropriate reference to at least two other related films.

Candidates will establish an area of investigation that relates the chosen

focus film to one of the following frameworks:

• star/performer

• genre

• auteur (in its broadest sense)

• social, political and cultural studies

• gender issues

• ethnicity

• institution

• technology

Candidates may not choose as a focus film any film they have specialised in

elsewhere in the specification.

The research project is completed in two parts:

an annotated catalogue (approximately 10-15 items) and

a presentation script (approximately 1500 words)

Candidates should submit:

(a) a small-scale research project comprising:

(i) an annotated catalogue of key items of the candidate's research -

approximately 1000 words in total (15 marks)

The catalogue will contain approximately 10 to 15 items selected

from the candidate's total primary and secondary research.

Each catalogue item should be appropriately referenced and be accompanied by a brief note (approximately 70 words),

Which explains how the particular item is relevant to the area of investigation and what it contributes to the overall research.

The catalogue must conclude with a short paragraph which lists

significant items (e.g. between 3 and 5) not selected for inclusion in the catalogue, offering brief reasons why (up to 200 words).

(ii) a presentation script - approximately 1500 words (25 marks)

The presentation script must take the form of notes for a presentation

and could combine (for example)

subheadings, bullet points, short

pieces of connected prose and reference to visual extracts to illustrate the presentation.

Candidates are encouraged to devise a presentation format appropriate to their needs and may, for example, employ digital forms such as powerpoint.

Reference to key items of research from the catalogue must be made explicitly in the presentation.

Short credited quotations may be used

but care must be taken that the words of the presentation are the candidate's own.

Credited quotations are excluded from the wordcount.

More detail for you

Guidance from the Board.

Mr Gaffney’s ideas do not have to be followed slavishly,they are for guidance only. It is way more important to discuss matters and seek approval from Mrs Symons.

FM3 Small-Scale Research Project: Guidance

Freddie Gaffney, Principal Moderator

The small-scale research project, worth 40% of FM3, comprises:

(i) an annotated catalogue (approximately 10 to 15 items) – 15 marks

(ii) a presentation script (1000 – 1500 words) – 25 marks

Please note:

(a) there is no longer any requirement for a separate evaluation.

(b) No commentary accompanies the catalogue (as was the case up to and including the 2006

examination series). The annotations replace the need for a commentary.

(c) Candidates may not choose as a focus film any films they have specialised in elsewhere in

the specification (i.e., either at AS or A2).

(d) There is a misprint on page 37 of Specification, relating to the total marks for FM3:

Level 1 mark range is '0-39' and not '0-31'.


What needs to be produced for the Small-Scale Research Project?

The Small-Scale Research Project should either be stimulated by a single film (such as Die Hard:

With A Vengance as an example of an industrialised franchise) or stem from a topic-based

concept (such as ‘Cinéma Déraciné – French Film of the 90s’). Whichever approach is taken,

paramount should be student involvement, excitement, passion and enthusiasm.

Small-Scale Research Project

This is designed to allow students to develop research skills within a contained and

manageable structure (that does not encourage unwieldy or unfocused approaches) through

reference to one of the following contexts:

Auteur – focusing on the auteur (in the broadest sense) either individual, collaborative, or any

less conventional approaches. It is important to realise that ‘auteur’ is the context for an area

of investigation and not an area of investigation in itself. Thus, being an auteur affects the way

‘auteurs’ perform their creative role and it is an aspect of this creative role that may become

the area for investigation (such as Hitchcock’s continual use of the blonde). Themes and

representations are easily addressed by the context.

Institutional – this may focus on a national cinema context (particularly one that is directly

controlled or sponsored), a Studio context or a body of work produced ‘institutionally’ such as

the films of the Empire Marketing Board.


The Area of Investigation

The range of areas of investigation is deliberately as wide as possible to encourage candidate

ownership and enable candidates to feel their interests and passions can lead to a project that will

be lively, engaged, manageable and successful. It is recommended that the area of investigation

is expressed in terms of a statement, as opposed to a question, to enable candidates to research

in an open way. From the candidate’s point of view, projects can be anchored by starting with

detailed exploration of relevant extracts from the ‘Focus film’ and ‘related films’. Examples of

such areas of investigation include:

the auteur*

Area of Investigation: Luc Besson’s move from French film to Americanised movies and

the impact on his cinematic style

Focus film: Leon (Buena Vista/Gaumont/Dauphin, Fr 1994, Dir: Luc Besson)

Related films: Subway (Gaumont/Films du Loup/TSF/TFI, Fr 1985, Dir: Luc Besson),

Nikita (Palace/Gaumont/Cecci/Tiger, Fr/It 1990, Dir: Luc Besson), The Fifth Element

(Columbia/Gaumont, Fr 1997, Dir: Luc Besson).

Area of Investigation: Jerry Bruckheimer’s imprint as master of the high concept film.

Focus film: Con Air (Buena Vista/Touchstone, US 1997, Dir: Simon West)

Related films: Armageddon (Buena Vista/Touchstone/Valhalla, US 1998, Dir: Michael

Bay), Gone in Sixty Seconds (Buena Vista/Touchstone, US 2000, Dir: Dominic Sena),

Pearl Harbour (Buena Vista/Touchstone, US 2001, Dir: Michael Bay).

*Projects based on the auteur context

In order to enable candidates to explore what is distinctive about auteurs – whether directors, stars, performers or studios – it is recommended that the area of investigation is based on one or two signature features of the auteur’s work, or (as in the examples above) significant aspects of the auteur. This allows candidates to explore how those features are distinctive and make meaning primarily in relation to the focus film but with reference to two other films as well. This approach consequently avoids projects which deal with a possibly self-evident question of whether an individual or studio qualifies as an auteur.


Research and Annotated Catalogue (10 to 15 items)

With the area of investigation considered, decided on and approved, the next stage is to begin the research. Both primary and secondary research should be undertaken. This will then lead to a body of research materials being put together, from which items will be selected to produce an Annotated Catalogue. Each catalogue item should be appropriately referenced and be

accompanied by a brief note (around 5 lines), which explains how the particular item is relevant to the area of investigation and assesses the importance of the item to the overall research. A short, closing paragraph will identify significant items not selected for inclusion in the catalogue,

offering reasons why.

An annotated catalogue for a project that addresses genre through an area of investigation the emergence of a ‘gothic’ genre in American film may well look something like this:

Annotated Catalogue


Item1: Edward Scissorhands (Fox, US 1990, Dir: Tim Burton). Very useful as it has all

the markers of the new gothic genre on display, and also has a clear

relationship with Burton’s early films and his later ones.

Item 2: The Crow (Entertainment/Most/Pressman, US 1994, Dir: Alex Proyas). The

genre was still in cult territory here, and this shows in the comic book feel.

Development of genre markers and influence of Burton clear. Useful, but

could have easily been one of several other films in this place.

Item 3: The Craft (Columbia, US 1996, Dir: Andrew Fleming). This is the film that was

the turning point for the genre, where it suddenly not only got mainstream

acceptance but also spawned similar films. Very much a teen movie, this

shows the changing focus towards a new audience. Invaluable.


Item 4: Baiss, B. The Crow: The Story Behind the Film (Titan 2004). This was a very

good piece of research as it not only told the story of making the film it also

gave a broad overview of what makes a gothic film. This is possibly the most

useful piece in the catalogue.

Item 5: Smith, J & Matthews, C. Tim Burton (Virgin 2002). This gives a clear sense of

what Burton’s work is all about, and how he practically defined the new

American gothic genre. Detailed information on all of his films, and on the

thoughts underneath them, this led me to some of the other material in the

catalogue and some deselected from it.


Item 6: Tim Burton: Cinema’s Prince of Darkness, supplement in SFX Magazine, March


Detailed on Burton with a clear emphasis on the gothic elements. Could not

miss being included.

Item 7: Travers, P. Auteur in Angora in Rolling Stone Magazine July 1995 An

interesting article that looks at Burton as an auteur – some good references to

his film and some discussion of his “burtonesque” genre.



Item 8: http://www.thetimburtoncollective.com The Tim Burton Collective is a fan-based

site that offers a considerable range of articles, biographical information, and

links for Tim Burton. This was the best of the Tim Burton related sites as it

seemed authoritative and was also recommended by many other sources.

Item 9: http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/04/31/lost_in _translation.html Neon

Gothic: Lost in Translation by Wendy Halsem - this is a great article by a

University Lecturer that served to widen my view of the gothic. Full of film

references, it took my research in several unexpected directions (some not so


Item 10: http://minadream.com/timburton/EdwardScissorHands. htm this is a quite

sophisticated site, but I sense it is still a fan site. Full of information about

Burton and the gothic, this was particularly useful for looking at Edward


Item 11: http://www.darklinks.com/dmovies.html Dark Side of the Net – this was a little bit

strange (particularly the movie forum) but it did clue me in to a whole range of

American gothic films that I hadn’t even considered before. Not as relevant to

the focus films as the other sites, but good for a general overview.


Item 12: Deviance & Defiance The 7th Biannual Conference of the International Gothic

Association – Panel 1.3 Gothic Cinema (Thurs 11th August 2005). As I was on

holiday in Canada this summer I stumbled across this Univ Montreal event.

This was perfect research (although there were parts where I simply didn’t

understand the panellists!), particularly when I got to talk to John Hogland from

Univ of Kalmar afterwards about American gothic films.


Vampress.net ( http://www.vampress.net/forum ) had some useful fan comment on the three

films, but it never really got beyond the superficial. The Crow’s Loft (http://www.thecrowsloft.com )

was quite detailed and authoritative on the film, but never got into the gothic or genre that much.

There were a few film reviews from Empire, Total Film and Sight and Sound that were useful

background reading but had no direct relationship with the investigation, and similarly Mark

Salisbury’s Burton on Burton (Faber 1995) was good to see Burton’s own words, but there was so

much that was outside the project that it really didn’t fit.


The presentation script (1000-1500 words)

With the annotated catalogue complete, the next step is to prepare to present your findings in the

form of a presentation script which may:

be in note form (though comprehensibly so)

be bulleted or numbered in an appropriate fashion

be short pieces of prose with reference to presentation material connecting them (and

listing the catalogue items)

use appropriate headings and sub-headings to divide it up.

It should show where a piece of supporting material from the Catalogue will be used (or where

material derived from the Catalogue but designed specifically for the Presentation is employed)

and should ensure that Catalogue Items used in the Presentation Script are clearly referenced (by

Catalogue number is easiest but full referencing in footnotes/endnotes is also fine).

It is important to note that an essay format is not suitable for this task.

FM3  Creative Project

This will be supervised by Mrs Symons.

The creative project should demonstrate candidates' active engagement with

issues raised during their studies at AS and/or A2.

It comprises three elements:

• aims and context

• a creative product (short film or film extract, screenplay or extended

step outline for a documentary film) and

• a reflective analysis


The film research and creative projects contribute towards synoptic assessment and

assess AO2, AO3 and AO4. Candidates should submit:

(b) a creative project comprising:

(i) aims and context

A clarification of the aims and context of the product to be completed on the appropriate cover sheet.

Please note: the 'Aims and Context' must be completed on the appropriate cover sheet, otherwise the Creative Project and accompanying Reflective Analysis cannot be adequately assessed.

Please note the Aims and Context may be at extreme variance with what is actually produced, for this is the nature of film making in the real world.

Consultation with Mrs Symons is important here.

(ii) creative product (45 marks)

The creative product may be one of the following:

• a film extract or a complete short film (3-5 minutes in length).

Group work is permitted for this option (maximum 4) but members of the group must be responsible for a clearly defined role on which they are assessed.

• a screenplay (approximately 1800 words) for a section of a feature-length film or a complete screenplay (approximately 1800

words) for a short film. The standard conventions of screenplay writing should be observed.

(iii) reflective analysis - approximately 1000 words or equivalent

(15 marks, including aims and context)

The reflective analysis should select key features of the creative product and reflect critically on both the creative process and the


Candidates working in a group should focus on the construction and impact of their role.

The analysis can be presented:

• as a continuous piece of writing, with or without illustrative


• in a digital form such as a suitably edited blog or another web based

format or

• as a focused DVD commentary




Focus of the unit:

This unit contributes to synoptic assessment.

Understanding will be fostered through:

*Studying complex films from different contexts, ext ending knowledge of the diversity of film and its effects


*exploring spectatorship issues in relation to a particular type of film

*applying key concepts and critical approaches gained throughout the course to explore one film in a synoptic manner .

Content Section A:

World Cinema This section requires a specific engagement with a World Cinema topic, including contextual knowledge.

There are prescribed topics but no prescribed films and questions will be broadly - based. Suggested films are listed in the Notes for Guidance .

The following options are available for first examination in Summer 2010 until the end date of this qualification .

(a) Aspects of a National Cinema Topics for examination are:

Bollywood , 1990 – present

Iranian Cinema , 1990 – present

Japanese Cinema, 1950 – 1970  

Mexican Cinema, 1990 – present .

This study does not require a comprehensive coverage of the period – and it is permissible to cover a shorter period, as long as there is some significance in the films chosen and their relationship to the national cinema to which they belong. It is expected that two principal films will be chosen, supplemented by one or two further films that may have been studied more briefly. Each of the two principal films must be by a different direct or as this is not an auteur study.

The study should focus not only on the films themselves but on their contexts, exploring the viability of studying film by reference to the ' national ' .

( b) International Film Styles Topics for examination are:

German and/or Soviet Cinema of the 1920s  


Neo - Realism

New Waves .

This topic focuses on the characteristics of a film style which may have originated in a particular national cinema as a ' movement ' and which subsequently has had trans - national significance.

It is possible to focus on the initial moment, such as German Expressionism or Soviet Montage in the 1920s or Italian Neo - Realism in the 1940s or the French New Wave in the 1960s in two principal films , with the expectation that the candidate will have some awareness of the adaptation of the style elsewhere in at least one further film. A different approach would be to look at parallel developments – such as the emergence of different kinds of ' expressive ' cinema in the 1920s in Germany and the USSR o r different ' new waves ' in different national contexts.

(c) Specialist Study 1: Urban Stories - Power, Poverty and Conflict

The expectation is that candidates will choose two principal films representing life in difficult urban environments, and that these will be supplemented by two further films studied more briefly. The challenge of this topic is to compare and contrast films which may come from very different social and cultural contexts. A list of suggested films is contained in the Notes for Guidance .

It is possible to consider historical examples such as Metropolis and Bicycle Thieves or largely contemporary examples such as Chungking Express , La Haine , Amores Perros , City of God and Tsotsi.

(d ) Specialist Study 2: Empowering Women The study of examples of films from World Cinema that engage with the empowering of women may be eclectic in its geographical range including, for example, Qui Ju , Real Women Have Curves , Five in the Afternoon , Moola a d é and Volver .

Alternatively, the focus may be on a p articular continental cinema, such as that of Africa or South America. The challenge of this topic is to compare and contrast films which may come from very different social and cultural contexts. A list of suggested films is contained in the Notes for Guidance .

Section B: Spectatorship Topics

The emphasis in all four options for Section B is on the study of the interaction of aspects of film form and the spectator. It offers continuity from work in F M 1.

The following options are available for first examination in Summer 2010 until the end date of this qualification .

(a ) Spectatorship and Early Cinema before 1917 The study of the development of film language and spectatorship in the years between 1895 and the first full length feature films – including consideration of how and why film form and spectatorship developed as they did. The focus may be on a number of very short films from the period 1895 – 1905 or on two feature - length films made between 1913 – 1917, or on a mixture

(b ) Spectatorship and Documentary The study of the impact on the spectator of different kinds of documentary – for example, the overtly persuasive and the apparently observational film . Examples may be taken from both historical (such as 30s and 40s British Documentary or 60s Cinéma Verité) and contemporary examples, including work on video.

A minimum of two feature - length documentaries should be studied for this topic.

(c ) Spectatorship: Experimental and Expanded Film/Video

The study of radical ' alternatives ' to mainstream film form and representation, challenging our sense of how we see and consequently how we respond to audio - visual material . Examples may be taken from both the historical and the contemporary . Where possible candidates should visit galleries and other venues where work is installed in relation to specific physical spaces. The focus may be on a number of works seen in locations, on a number of short films, on two feature length films o r on a mixture (see Notes for Guidance ).

(d ) Spectatorship: Popular Film and Emotional Response

This study is concerned with the ways in which popular film (whether deriving from Hollywood or elsewhere) produces powerful sensory and emotional responses in the spectator. It is possible to focus on a particular genre – such as horror and consider shock effects – or the melodrama as ' weepie ' . Alternatively, the focus may be on spectacle, whether relating to the body of the star or to the staging/choreograph y of action. This topic is not concerned specifically with either issues of representation or value judgements but rather with developing understanding about how films create the emotional responses they do. It is expected that a minimum of two feature - length films will be studied for this topic.

Section C: Single Film - Critical Study

The ability of candidates to engage in critical study of a single film is examined in this section. The synoptic dimension is clear – as there is the expectation that the candidate ' s cumulative learning will be brought to bear in this study .

Critical approaches that may be applied include those arising from the frameworks for the FM3 research project while contextual study will consolidate work completed for FM2 and FM4 Section s A and B.

The role of macro and micro elements of film in the construction of meaning and the creation of emotion informs the specification as a whole. Each of the films available for study has given rise to much debate in its critical reception and each lends itself to study within one or more of the critical frameworks listed for FM3.

A consideration of some of these debates and the application of critical frameworks will provide the basis for the candidate ' s own engagement with the film.