best A level photographyarts boarding school“It would be hard to find better provision for an artist.”

Good Schools Guide 2014

Film and Media Studies are now very well established at the College with a track record of outstanding results. Good Schools Award for Film Studies A level results were secured in 2007, 2008 and 2012. We were one of the first UK schools to offer GCSE Film Studies to its students. Combining academic and practical work including screen writing and film journalism these A levels and GCSEs are an exciting alternative to more traditional subjects. The teaching provided by College tutors is supplemented by visiting speakers and industry practitioners. This year these included a seminar run at the College by the British Board of Film Classification.

RIC students regularly progress to study Film and Media at some of the top rated universities for the subject including Warwick, KCL and Sussex.





The A level Film course involves the close study of contemporary British and American Cinema and the film industry as well as studies of world cinema such as French and Hong Kong New Waves, Contemporary Mexican Cinema, Soviet Montage and German Expressionism. A level Film Studies is taught as both a one and two year A level course. Students combine Film Studies at RIC with a range of other A level subjects ranging from the traditionally academic to the more creative including Fine Art, History of Art, English Literature, Sociology, History, Graphic Design, Media Studies and Photography.

ric goes to the movies

Rochester Independent College students enjoy the industrial quality light and magic of the movies without ever leaving the campus.

The College converted a room in its newly restored building into a stunning state of the art cinema complete with a SIM2 C3X 3 chip projector and electric 10ft screen. A 7.1 surround sound configuration is controlled by a Pioneer AX4i THX Select 2 system. The new installation is an awesome combination of digital surround sound and big screen picture with a clarity and fidelity seldomly seen in the classroom.

The system also features a 50 inch wall mounted plasma screen television and is used by A level and GCSE Film and Media students as well as by the College’s residential boarders for relaxing in the evening.

Students are even able to premiere their own short films on the big screen. Student films are available on our dedicated RIC youtube channels here and here.

best boarding school for film studiesRIC was proud this year to host the premiere of the first film produced, directed and starring a group of our A level students. Filmed on location in the local area ‘Fragile Society’ is a bleakly dystopian vision of the future. Click here for the full movie and here for the facebook page for the film which demonstrates how the talented team of cinerats are as adept at viral marketeering and industry style promotional strategy as they are at film making itself!

The College has encouraged many young and aspiring film makers over the years. Clio Barnard, the BAFTA award winning director of The Arbor and The Selfish Giant was film maker in residence. Industry professionals regularly visit the College to share their experience with students. This year photographer Ali Mobasser and illustrator and animator Russell Weekes gave a talk to our A-level Photography and Film Studies students. Professionals in their own right, Ali and Russell also collaborate on projects, most notably music videos and a multimedia project for The Guardian Magazine.

Russell showed his video for Franz Ferdinand, which made use of his signature visual playfulness, as well as his cunningly simple and effective illustration and graphic work. He also showed the Stephin Merritt (of The Magnetic Fields fame) music video he directed, for which Ali took the stills.

alumni profiles

Full name: Debi Berry

What year(s) were you a student at Rochester Independent College? 1990-1992

What did you study at RIC? English, Art and French

What do you remember most?

I remember designing the sign to the Art Studio in the style of Mondrian which hung proudly at the entrance to the studio for the two years we were there. Only later did Jackie Clark confess to me that she hated that sign!

What are you doing now?

Photographic Director of Empire Magazine for the last 12 years in which time I’ve directed shoots with many of Hollywood’s leading actors and directors including George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Steven Speilberg, Daniel Craig and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

What has been your highest flying moment since leaving?

Directing the final cast images for the last Harry Potter film.

Persuading Mel Gibson to paint his face blue to pay homage to his role in Braveheart.

Getting Anthony Hopkings and Jodie Foster back together to celebrate Silence of the Lambs.

Being told by Tom Cruise that I shot great covers.

edFull Name: Edward Smyth

When did you study at Rochester Independent College: 2008-2014  

Summary of achievements:

Worked with the BFI, Screen South, Viola Films, CTVC, The Grierson Trust & KM Group, with films shown in cinemas including Cineworld, The Quarterhouse in Folkestone and Rich Mix in Shoreditch. Curates short films weekly for the Rochester Film Society, and was recently featured in Digital Filmmaker Magazine. Acquired funding from IdeasTap for ‘Peculiar Tales’, a series of three short films he co-created, shot and produced. Recently worked as a Runner on Kickstarter-funded feature film ‘The Fitzroy’.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’ve been creating films since the age of 11, and recently I’ve started to do it professionally. It’s cliché, but I’ve got a genuine passion to tell stories through moving images. To help realise this dream, I’ve attended over half a dozen filmmaking courses and countless masterclasses, where I’ve met the friends and developed the skills beneficial for my own projects.

What is it that inspires you?

Thanks to DSLR cameras, filmmaking has become far more democratised, and so when I’m watching films and TV, I often think “I can do that!”. Also, I’m inspired by the achievements of other young people, especially those who’ve prospered against difficult backgrounds, which encourages me to make the very best out of my opportunities.

What would be your top tip for other pupils hoping to follow in your path?

Start making short films with like-minded people, and try to build a community of student filmmakers locally. Apply to filmmaking courses, such as the BFI Film Academy, and submit your work to festivals. Offer your services towards other films in any way you can. Critique your own work and that of other filmmakers, so you know how to improve. Most of all, be creative and open-minded, make the best from bad situations and learn from your mistakes!

11+a level film studies

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