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Film Studies

Film Studies

Curriculum Intent:

Through a practical and theoretical approach, students are empowered to interpret, deconstruct, evaluate and create film.

Film Studies is offered as a:

  • GCSE option for a 2 year As Level Course
  • IB option in HL/SL

Key Stage 4 Film Studies 

Curriculum Overview 

Film Studies at AS Level focuses on embedding a knowledge of Film History, subject terminology and giving learners the critical skills they need to study Film at KS5 and beyond.  There is also some focus on creative and practical skills.

Learners will study the films: E.T The Extra Terrestrial (1982) Moonrise Kingdom,(2012) Ida, (2013) Room (2015) and Vertigo (1958) and complete NEA coursework – a screenplay and a storyboard for a British film sequence; or a short film sequence.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 10 Introduction to Film and NEA The Shawshank Redemption Genre Study and auteurship Scriptwriting and Film History Moonrise Kingdom and Room Foreign Language Film Study


Year 11 E.T. The Extra Terrestrial Vertigo Ida and The Lives of Others NEA hand-in and Exam Prep Study Leave for Exams Study Leave for Exams


Year 10 Lessons

Students receive two lessons a week and thinking skills are embedded into all lessons. The purpose of year 10 film is to provide students with the literacy skills of film – terminology, analysis and some historical film knowledge. Key concepts such as industry, spectatorship and auteurship are covered as well as an intro to their coursework and exam texts

Year 11 Lessons

Students receive two lessons a week and thinking skills are embedded into all lessons. In year 11 we start the process of revision and building comparative writing skills. Analysis is made deeper through much more learning of social, historical and political contexts. Coursework is completed for hand-in this year.

Elements of Film
This component is worth 105 marks and represents 70% of the marks for the AS Level. This is an externally assessed written paper. Learners will be required to complete an examination paper lasting two hours.
The examination paper will consist of three sections.
• Section A: Film Form in US Cinema from 1930 to 1990 (35 marks)
• Section B: Comparative Contextual Study (35 marks)
• Section C: Close study: European film (35 marks).

Understanding British Film
This non-examined assessment is worth 45 marks and represents 30% of the marks for the AS Level. This component is internally assessed by teachers and externally moderated by OCR assessors. Learners will be required to produce an individual key sequence from a new British film or a screenplay for a key sequence from a new British film (30 marks) and to carry out an evaluation of their production (15 marks)

Further Reading/Resources

OCR As Level Specification –

We are fortunate that film is one of the UK’s leading and highest earning industries.  Some links to get students started on further opportunities and skills for this course can be found here:

Key Stage 5 Film

Leading on from KS4, IB Film offers students at both SL/HL the opportunity to continue to improve their knowledge of film but with a focus on film-making rather than analysis of film. It is not necessary to have studied Film at KS4 to access the course, however, it will improve on those skills If learners have.

Curriculum Overview

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 12 Introduction to Film – terminology and reverse engineering project


Classic Film Study and intro to film criticism Comparative Study – Superhero films and Foreign Films Short film study with production skills


Roles of the film-maker Director Study
Year 13 Production work finals The art of exhibition Independent film study


Film Studies – beyond KS5

Year 12 

The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL. Embedded within the course is the development of thinking skills. Much of what we do in Film Studies utilises and supports the development of independent thinking skills and we are able to make the development of these skills explicit in the subject. Year 12 can be seen as a foundation year for film – although this is dependent on the cohort’s knowledge of film and can be adapted. Lots of practical skills are learnt in order to equip students with the technical skills to succeed with their coursework.

Year 13 

Year 13 is much more about refining the skills developed in Year 12 and certain film-making processes such as editing and exhibition are explored. Analysis is also refined through comparative texts and using the rigour of academic film criticism.

Exploring film production roles

SL and HL students will explore various film production roles through engagement with all phases of the filmmaking process in order to fulfill their own filmmaker intentions. Students acquire, develop and apply skills through filmmaking exercises, experiments and completed films.

Contextualizing film

SL and HL students will explore the evolution of film across time, space and culture. Students will examine various areas of film focus in order to recognize the similarities and differences that exist between films from contrasting cultural contexts.

Reading film

SL and HL students will examine film as an art form, studying a broad range of film texts from a variety of cultural contexts and analysing how film elements combine to convey meaning.

Collaboratively producing film (HL only)

HL students focus on the collaborative aspects of filmmaking and experience working in core production teams in order to fulfill shared artistic intentions. They work in chosen film production roles and contribute to all phases of the filmmaking process in order to collaboratively create original completed films.



External/Internal SL HL
Textual analysis

Students at SL and HL demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how meaning is constructed in film. They do this through a written analysis of a prescribed film text based on a chosen extract (lasting no more than five minutes) from that film. Students consider the cultural context of the film and a variety of film elements.

External 30% 20%
Comparative study

Students at SL and HL carry out research into a chosen area of film focus, identifying and comparing two films from within that area and presenting their discoveries as a recorded multimedia comparative study.

External 30% 20%
Film portfolio

Students at SL and HL undertake a variety of film-making exercises in three film production roles, led by clearly defined filmmaker intentions. They acquire and develop practical skills and techniques through participation in film exercises, experiments and the creation of at least one completed film.

Internal 40% 25%
Collaborative film project (HL only)

Bringing together all they have encountered during the film course, students at HL work collaboratively in a core production team to plan and create an original completed

Internal N/A 35%

Further Reading/Resources example of comparative video essay example of student short film example of IB Film Portfolio grade 5 out of 7

We are fortunate that film is one of the UK’s leading and highest earning industries.  Some links to get students started on further opportunities and skills for this course can be found here:


British Values:

British Values in Film Studies

Democracy: In both Media and Film Studies– teaching of past political history – USSR/rise of Nazism and ideology of certain texts such as Ida compared to current ideas about democracy; using London riots as an example of how democracy was ‘turned off’ ; social media and net privacy/freedoms e.g. Cambridge Analytica etc

Rule of law: As above and discussions about identity politics in relation to recent protests/BLM and historical examples of protest from first wave feminism to Stonewall riots

Individual Liberty: Links to the narrative of Moonrise Kingdom and Room– debate over choice and freedoms. Erosion of privacy laws; Hong Kong protests over civil liberties…

Mutual respect: Taught throughout Film and Media – debates, discussions and interpretations of morality; as well as valuing everyone’s contributions in class etc.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs: Teaching of internet laws, e.g. Tim Berners-Lee proposed a Human Rights Act for the Web; discussions about the rights of individuals using platforms for hate speech/free speech – new app Parler for example or Tommy Robinson and Facebook ban.