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Film BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time W610 2017
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017
Joint honours: see course combinations for UCAS codes

Why choose this course?

This degree combines two parallel and equally weighted strands offering an integrated approach to understanding film culture:

  1. A film making strand that provides practical storytelling and technical skills.
  2. A theory and history strand that focuses on both national and international cinematic cultures, and different industrial contexts.

Film making

In film making practice you will work in the forms of documentary and drama; camera use, sound, editing, and script. You will learn to work with contributors, subjects, actors; how to approach the rigours of directing by thinking and being one of the team.

You will go on to work across a wide range of industries, internet platforms and expanding visual mediums as independent film makers, crew members and as freelancers who understand the fundamental requirements of film making and storytelling in an ever changing visual landscape.

You'll begin by learning how to operate a low budget/no budget philosophy, to foster resourcefulness, imagination, inspiration and an understanding of film culture, as it is now and as it will be tomorrow.

Theory and history

Within the theory and history field, you will examine how film communicates like a language and produces meaning. You will study films within a variety of socio-cultural and national contexts, and use key critical approaches relating to realism, philosophy, feminism, genres and star systems.

You can also choose to study this course as a joint honours degree alongside another subject. See the course combinations section for more information.

Watch this video to find out what our students have to say about studying this course at Kingston University:

Watch the film below to find out about the practical strand of the Film Studies degree (this video was made by Shih-Yun Su, a PhD student in Film Making):

What you will study

Year 1 theory begins by focusing on the technical aspects of film making that shape film meaning and content, simultaneously building on previous knowledge and bringing students without film studies experience up to speed. You will also study a number of concepts that provide different approaches to analysing films. Through a historical approach you will study a range of influential conceptual and stylistic world movements as well as mainstream developments within a broader socio-cultural context.

The practical modules – for single honours students only – begin by teaching a wide range of technical skills and developing the your understanding and ability to work in the documentary and factual form. You will begin with the building blocks of film making, understanding group work – of central importance to the practical work of the course; the technical elements, camera and framing, lighting, how to record good sound, what editing is and why it is the cornerstone of all film production; how to be an effective researcher and employ storytelling strategies, and most importantly, employing ethics when working as crew and with the public in the film making context.

Year 2 further develops your understanding of film theory and history, through global film making cultures, such as French, German, Latin American and Middle Eastern. You will also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our prestigious partner universities in Europe or further afield.

In practice you will move from factual to fiction film making, employing a new range of technical skills to harness your story concepts and turn them into short film from a myriad of personal and universal perspectives. You will develop an understanding of audiences and where your films could fit into the cinematic world; be that an academic context, film festivals, internet channels, or terrestrial TV.

Year 3 enables you to tailor your studies through a choice of modules. The core and option modules cover areas of cult and popular film, gender, race and disability, new philosophical approaches to film, avant garde and experimental film: special studies focusing on a range of contemporary approaches to cinema and a dissertation, allowing you to carry out more independent research and writing.

In terms of practice, you will meet with practitioners from a wide variety of disciplines and fields. You will generate ideas and hone your script-writing and technical skills to work towards your final major film project, while also examining distribution, marketing and the tools of freelance self-promotion.

This course will equip you with a portfolio of film productions and a thorough understanding of the complexities of film history, context and theory.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • Adopting a broadly chronological approach, this module will concentrate on developing an understanding of the formal and technical aspects of the medium through an analysis of the emergence of film style, as well as introduce students to the issues and debates that have shaped Film Studies as an academic discipline. The intention is to provide students with a clear and comprehensive grounding in some key concepts that have been developed for the critical understanding of cinema and film. The course will explore such key formal elements as camerawork, editing, mise-en-scene and narrative as well as concepts such as genre, stardom, national cinema, context and audiences in relation to commercial and other film cultures. Furthermore the course will also serve to provide students with the tools to succeed at degree level- study and improve their employability profile through a strong skills component

  • This module is intended to provide you with the skills required to produce films in the short documentary form.  The process will focus upon the key roles in developing, shooting and editing such a project; Director, Researcher, Producer, Camera, Sound Recordist and Editor in order to prepare groups to develop an idea for a documentary which is imaginative and achievable.  Particular attention will be paid to the apparently paradoxical notion of writing or scripting documentary films. The importance of ethics and the foundations of how we treat and work with our subjects will also be examined in some depth. Students will also be introduced to using archives through the process of making a video essay.

  • This module will focus on the history, context and development of cinema from its origins in pre-cinema to the present day. Though it will have a particular focus upon Hollywood, the module will also explore the interrelationship between Hollywood and other national film industries and movements. The approach is broadly historical/chronological, with the module surveying not just Hollywood but acknowledging the interplay between its national and international context and competitors. To this end it will explore how classic Hollywood, (a period roughly spanning the 1920s to the 1950s) emerged from a variety of aesthetic and national traditions in silent cinema, the studio system’s eventual decline in the late 50s and the experimental and commercial variants of New Hollywood post 1967. The module will also examine future developments within and beyond cinema located within a technologically mediated, global market place. The module studies both the social and history context that underpinned these institutional arrangements and some of the films and genres it produced.

  • This module is intended to provide you with an introduction to the technical skills required in the production of visual storytelling, with particular focus on the making and requirements of the documentary and factual genres.  The process will begin with understanding the dynamics of team work, which is critical in all film and visual production, as well as individual development in a range of technical areas which will equip the student to undertake a role as defined by small crew production, i.e. that of Director, Researcher, Producer, Camera, Sound Recordist and Editor. Practice in these roles will enable students to eventuallly  achieve the status of an all round filmmaker.

    Students will undertake practical workshops in the basics of camera, in sound recording and editing software.  Working as a crew on set will be developed in workshops. The roles of Producer and Director will be examined through the lens of the three stages of production, Pre, Production and Post. Sound Post Production and Grading will be illustrated.  Students will learn the basics of self-presentation through the Portfolio Presentation, as outlined in greater detail under the assessment strategy.


Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This module is intended to provide you with the skills required to produce a short documentary.  The process will focus upon the key roles in developing, shooting and editing such a project; Director, Researcher, Producer, Camera, Sound Recordist and Editor in order to prepare groups to develop an idea for a documentary which is imaginative and achievable.  Particular attention will be paid to the apparently paradoxical notion of writing or scripting documentary films.  The module aims to incorporate theoretical and practical elements to ensure that Students undertake their production projects from a more informed perspective.

    Initially attention will be paid to the Documentary Form and its history.  This will include consideration of a range of genres and concepts including Realism, Neo-realism, Cinema Verite, Fly on the Wall, Ethnographic Film, Feature documentary, Docu-drama, Docu-soap and Reality TV. Also, importantly, the short documentary form.  Central to this process will be a continuing investigation of the relationship between Subjectivity, Objectivity and Point of View. Ethics and the foundations of how we treat and work with our subject will also be covered in some depth.

  • This module is designed to introduce students to the study of ‘global cinema’ through a series of case studies of national and transnational cinemas from European, postcolonial, 'Third World' and/or developing countries. The module will provide the historical, cultural and industrial contexts that will allow students to view, discuss and interpret films and cinemas from different cultures. Close attention will be paid to major historical time periods (e.g. 1945-1968) and there will be opportunities to explore national and transnational cinemas within significant timeframes. Full films will be screened and discussed, augmented in the seminars by extracts from other works. The course will present ‘global cinema’ as a dynamic, vibrant and fascinating alternative to mainstream Hollywood.

  • This module requires a passion for film and a preparedness to watch and read widely. Through lectures, workshops and exposure to both Hollywood and European cinema, students learn how a rewarding screen narrative works - and how to create one. By the end of the module, students will have completed a short screenplay.

    The course is founded on the principle that knowledge of structure and characterisation can generate ideas for screen fiction, assess their potential and develop them into effective narratives.

    Consequently, we teach two strands, reflected in the final assessment. First, we deconstruct conventional narrative film, focusing in particular on structure and character, and why the film succeeds. Second, we guide students to the creation of their own short screenplay, providing models (in both film and script form) from a selection of successful short films.

  • This year long core module will introduce students to a range of theoretical and conceptual approaches that have shaped the study of film. Its focus will be both on the history of these ideas, situating them in their appropriate context, and on how we, as contemporary viewers and thinkers, can make best use of them in developing our own analyses of a series of filmic case-studies. The course is intentionally wide-ranging in its focus and encompasses theories and films from the late 1940s to the present day. It is divided into two main teaching blocks and students will have the option of focusing on one of three main areas of interest in each block.  Seminar discussions will form the cornerstone of the teaching on the module, and will provide a forum for exploring and analysing a wide selection theoretical texts and films, as well as giving students formative feedback on their comprehension of key ideas.


Year 3 (Level 6)

  • The module is intended to build upon the production experience students have gained in all the previous practical modules culminating in a capstone practical project which represents the culmination of their studies and brings together skills and knowledge from across the subject area. The students will have the opportunity in this year long module to thoroughly prepare a video project (teaching block 1) and to film the planned work during teaching block 2. The module will culminate in a public screening of the film projects at the end of the year.

    This module will deepen your existing understanding of the pre-production, shoot and post production demands of a short fiction (or documentary) film. This will include in teaching block 1, scripting, scheduling, budgeting, props, costumes, talent search and tryouts, directing and rehearsing.

    In teaching block 2 this module will concentrate on the script ideas generated in order to realise and technically produce a short group film project. Alternatively each group may produce a new project but must demonstrate that they have the requisite paper work and planning in place.  You will shoot the film drawing upon the critical, self-analytical and practical skills built up in the previous modules.

    Teaching block 2 will necessarily be more loosely structured, priority being given to responding to each group and film’s individual needs.  Workshops will be run weekly in order to provide a clinic whereby specific issues may be addressed and a source of information sharing. A drama development workshop centred around a real life situation will also be put in place in order for students to practice group writing skills and the technical delivery of a dramatic sequence.

  • The module offers an account of theories and ideas concerning power and resistance from a range of critical approaches to cinema including post-colonialism, post-structuralism, post-modernism, post-humanism, as well as Deleuzian, Bakhtinian and Foucauldian perspectives. These critical ideas will be used to approach a range of film texts that provide counter-accounts to the dominant discourses in relation to colonialism, dispersal and race, gender, anti-humanism, bodily and mental non-conformity, as well as films that allow for critically productive explorations of contemporary identity. These approaches raise questions about mainstream or dominant cultural production and practices from a range of film styles or cultures including satirical, parodic, grotesque, and horrific modes. The critical focus is on understanding power and resistance as forces and strategies produced through certain negotiated practices.

  • The module offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of what it is like to work within the media industries. Students will arrange and carryout a period of work experience within a media organisation working in a professional environment. The placement will typically be for two weeks, and usually completed over the summer period, although students who show initiative in negotiating more substantial work experience will be able to extend this. This practical hands-on experience will be supported in the classroom where students will be encouraged to reflect on their experience, evaluate their skills and plan for future in relation to graduate employability. Students will also locate and evaluate their experience in relation to wider debates and issues relating to work in the media industries, changing production contexts and new professional identities.

  • The module will discuss drama within a generic framework, encountering ideas of nationhood, heritage, class and culture, and examining the relationship between TV, literature, theatre and cinema.The module will trace the history of British Television Drama and consider the relations between commissioners, writers, directors and actors. It will  analyse the form and content of British television drama programmes in comparison with American television drama. It will explore notions of TV Commissioning and the Canon, the single television play and television as the writer’s medium. In addition the module will consider how television drama reflects, and influences British culture, the effect of technology on television drama and competition from American forms in the digital era.

  • The Dissertation is an individual piece of work, supervised by a member of staff, in which you will undertake a sustained exercise in research and investigation into a film- and / or television-related topic of your own choice.

  • This Special Study module uses David Bowie’s life (1947 onward) and work (1965 onward) to the present as a focus for the exploration of key theoretical concepts around national and location, gender and identity, narrative and intertextuality, authorship, audience and performance. Through an extended case study, it encourages an exploration of the relationship between theory and practice, an engagement with theory and an application of that theory to the analysis of primary texts.

  • This module focuses on the controversial subject of the depiction of drugs in the world of cinema. In it, we will attempt to examine the nature of drug films in the context of both gender and genre. From 50s classics like Preminger’s Man with the Golden Arm(1955) to recent ground-breaking features like Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996) and Justin Kerrigan’s Human Traffic (1999), we will be asking questions like ‘Do the films under discussion represent drug taking as a gendered experience?’ (i.e. Do they depict a difference between men and women taking drugs?). Also, ‘Can the drug experience film be categorised as a distinctive genre in itself, with its own recognisable thematic and narrative elements?’ The exploratory nature of this module invites students to contribute to, and to fully participate in, a ground-breaking new area of academic research - the analysis of contemporary ‘drug experience films’, that goes beyond establishing whether these glamorise or condemn the ingestion of illegal substances.

    We will pay particular attention, when exploring these films, to the depiction of visual, auditory, sensual and corporeal experiences of characters who are ‘under the influence’—in an attempt to explore the range of drug films from social commentary to ‘body genre’ – a term coined by Linda Williams with reference to the genres of horror, pornography and melodrama. We will critically examine a range of theoretical perspectives, including Julia Kristeva’s concept of the ‘abject’ to Gilles Deleuze’s theories on the nature of cinematic perception.

  • This is the module that can make you rich! Television is allegedly the second highest paid industry in the country (working in oil is more lucrative - but very uncomfortable). A reliable route to creative success and untold wealth in television now is the drama series. Mainstay of both terrestrial and digital channels, the returning series is TV’s holy grail – pulling audiences back for episode after episode, season after season, box set after box set. It can be a goldmine.

    Taught by two highly experienced TV professionals, this module will consider how a returning drama series is conceived and constructed. Students are introduced to concepts of dramatic structure and story-lining, using case studies of successful US and British models, together with practical exercises on serialisation and script writing. Working from concept to storyline to script, students develop their own original drama series (or comedy), and undertake research into the current broadcasting landscape – its channels, schedules and market imperatives.  The final assessment is an industry-standard pitch accompanied by a short script sample, aimed at UK television. Students demonstrate their research and a knowledge of social and commercial context in a supplementary market evaluation.

    This module isn’t just for would-be writers: it’s for anyone keen to understand contemporary broadcasting, refine their communication skills, and learn how to present their work and themselves in a professional context. At the end of this stimulating and entertaining course, students will have created their own drama series and (potentially) their own industry calling card. .

  • This module will explore and discuss a range of approaches and debates around cult film and television.  It will ask ‘what is cult and how may cult be defined in the 21st century?’ 

    The module will take in a broad range of ‘paracinematic’  film and television that lies outside the  Hollywood and mainstream  orthodoxy and will develop a  rigorous critical academic analysis around (and not exclusively) theories of cult,  taste, cultural appropriation, genre cinema, fandom and transgression.  It will explore how cult texts have been (and are today) marketed, distributed and consumed. 

    Using a diverse set of 20th century and contemporary texts this module will look extensively at a large body of international cult and exploitation cinema and TV,  across a wide range of genres (Giallo, The Western, the horror film etc). It will engage debates around  high culture, popular culture, space  and ‘trash aesthetics and  examine the tension between high and low,   art and trash.  Furthermore the module analyses current academic concerns around the consumption and exhibition of ‘transgressive’ texts.

  • This module will provide an insight into the classic Hollywood cinema’s approach to issues relating to female sexuality. It will investigate the studio star industry with case studies of female stars, including Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. It will trace the development of the depiction of gender and sexuality on screen within their socio-political contexts (such as the Hays Code).

    The module will explore the principal features of some of the archetypal ‘bad’ women on screen, investigating the ideologies and aesthetics which have shaped the  cinematic representations of femininity. The module will also map the development of specific female archetypes on screen from the screen ‘goddess’ or diva  (and her appeal for the male and female fans), through the stereotypes of the man-eating vamp and the female tramp to the child woman or ‘Lolita’ type.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Study abroad as part if your degreeMost of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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Society for Cinema and Media Studies - Cinema Journal

Film at Kingston: Institutional home of the Cinema Journal

From 2013 to 2018 Dr Will Brooker, reader in film, will be the first British editor of the Cinema Journal, the publication of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. SCMS is the leading scholarly organisation in the United States and Cinema Journal, which has been running since 1967, is the leading scholarly publication in the field of cinema and media studies.

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