Curriculum Intent for Film Studies

Film Studies teaches critical visual literacy and analytical skills to the highest level. We use this to help students foster creative film-making skills in order to express themselves as individuals. We are confident that the opportunities we give students to watch the works of great directors, to meet professionals from the industry, to engage in film-making, and to learn from our mistakes will enable our students to enter a highly competitive industry well ahead of their peers.

Click below to download the Curriculum map that shows a student’s learning journey throughout this subject at Finham Park School.

Learning Journey – Film A Level
Learning Journey – Film GCSE

GCSE Film Studies

Film is one of the key visual media which has dominated story-telling and entertainment in our culture for the past century, and shapes many of our ideas today. Our ideas about gender roles, responses to conflict and political ideas are shaped largely by Hollywood films. GCSE Film Studies allows students to develop a critical, questioning approach to films, the industry, audiences and social contexts. Students study a variety of films and analyse their techniques, representations and cultural influences. They will learn to analyse texts, develop their ability to visualise stories, and learn the technical skills to turn ideas into films.

GCSE Assessment by Coursework and Examination

  • Examination: EDUQAS (70%)
    Each candidate will complete two examinations. The first exam, Hollywood Film (1.5hr) is worth 35% and is based around a set genre, a study of Hollywood history, and an investigation into independent films in Hollywood. The second exam, Exploring Films outside Hollywood (1.5hr), is worth 35% and is based around three chosen film texts that will be studied in detail.
  • Non-Examination Assessment: (30%)
  • Each candidate will complete several film sequences from specific genres of film, and then choose the best to write an evaluation about. The evaluation will cover cinematic and genre influences, how the sequence conveys genre and meaning, and how effectively it intrigues the audience.

What will I study?

The EDUQAS Film Studies GCSE investigates:-

  • Hollywood Films
    • Genre Study (to be confirmed – Currently Musical films) – (Year 9/11) – the typical features of films within the designated genre, including camera work, editing and settings, the representations of key heroes and villains and the values they stand for, taught through case studies. The topic also engages with the ways in which these genre conventions have changed over time
    • Hollywood Independents – Specialist Writing – (Year 9/11) – the way in which audience perceptions are affected by critical reviews of Independent Hollywood Films. Taught through a single case study
  • English Language Non-Hollywood Films
    • Narrative and Aesthetics Study (Year 10/11) – the study of differences between Hollywood films and those from other English-speaking cultures, in the way they represent society, gender and important social ideas. Taught through two case studies
    • Non-English Language Films – Representation Study (Year 10/11) – the study of representations and social contexts in non-English-speaking cultures, in the way they represent society, gender and important social ideas. Taught through a single case study.
  • Creative film-making – (Year 9/10/11) – Students individually create a series of screenplays or sequences for the start of a film from a given brief, shoot it and edit it into a final product, and then evaluate it.

This course would suit you if …

  • Are interested in film and culture
  • Have an enquiring mind and enjoy analysing how films are constructed technically
  • Enjoy the opportunity to undertake individual research
  • Are committed to hard work and creativity over an extended period of time
  • You have strong analytical and written skills
  • Want to be a film-maker or work in the film industry

How will I learn?

  • Investigate topics using a range of case study films, videos, podcasts, the internet, and your teacher!
  • FROG and Google Classroom will be central to all of your learning resources.
  • Independent “flipped learning” so you can work at your own pace and at your own level: The course suits students who are self-motivated and work well independently.
  • Practical exercises getting progressively more difficult after initial skills-learning, and resulting in long-term film projects.

Not too familiar with editing? Here’s some help…

How can I use this course after Year 11 / in the future?

We advise students wishing to take A Level Film or Cambridge Technicals in Digital Media to have studied Film GCSE. Film Studies:-

  • Helps you develop practical and creative skills which help in all creative professions such as acting, design, film, TV, set design, writing, marketing, and business
  • Teaches project management skills such as planning, execution, and team work required in industries such as engineering, STEM and any media industries
  • Helps you to understand audiences and production processes, so it’s useful in marketing professions, advertising, business
  • Teaches written enquiry skills which fit jobs which find out information – Journalism, researcher, market research, and teaching or lecturing.
  • Requires extended, logical, reasoned, analytical debate in writing which is essential for other subjects such as English, Sociology, Psychology, History, Geography, Science
  • Teaches ICT skills, information handling, communicating ideas, flexibility, teamwork, problem solving and evaluating solutions – skills regarded as essential in Industry, the Public Services and in research and development teams in Science and Engineering.
  • Gets you in touch with film professionals through trips, external speakers from industry, and of course our now famous Finham Film Festival.
  • The Finham Film Festival has been our key mechanism for putting student work in front of professional film-makers for the last few years, and it continues to produce award-winning films, nationally-recognised prize-winners, and a high level of aspiration for all our students. A link to the Film Festival website can be found here.
A-Level Film Studies

The A-level Film Studies course interleaves theoretical learning with practical tasks to help students improve their critical analysis and film-making skills. It is intended to enable students who wish to enter the professional to do so at the highest level by providing a broad range of learning and experiences which will put them ahead of the competition. 

The course looks at the way films create meaning through technique and structure, the ways they represent the world around us, the ways they reflect the contexts of the times in which they were made and the ideological values of those societies. We explore the interaction between audiences and film-makers on a psychological level, in order that students understand the pleasures film provides as a medium, and how they can use this in their own films.

Year 12 Film Studies: Student Course Outline

  • Examination: EDUQAS (70%)
    Each candidate will complete two examinations. The first exam, Varieties of Film and Film-Making (2.5hr) is worth 35% and is based around a comparative study of Hollywood history through two case study films, an investigation into independent films in Hollywood, and a study of two British films from 1995-2005. The second exam, Global Film-Making Perspectives (2.5hr), is worth 35% and is based around a detailed study of two foreign films, a documentary unit, a study of Silent Cinema, and the study of experimental film.
  • Non-Examination Assessment: (30%)
  • Each candidate will complete several short films (4-5 minutes in length) from a specific creative brief, and then choose the best to write an evaluation about. The evaluation will cover cinematic influences, how the sequence conveys meaning, and how effectively it intrigues the audience.

What will I study?

The EDUQAS Film Studies A Level investigates:-

  • Varieties of Film and Film-Making
    • Component A: Comparative Study (to be confirmed – Currently Casablanca and Blade Runner) – the typical features of films, including camera work, editing and settings, the representations of key heroes and villains and the values they stand for, taught through case studies. The topic also engages with the ways in which film-making conventions have changed over time, reflect the contexts in which they were produced, and reflect the auteur traits of their directors
    • Component B: Hollywood Independents – (Captain Fantastic and Inception) – the way in which the ideological values of Independent Hollywood Films differ from mainstream Hollywood
    • Component C: British Cinema (Trainspotting and Shaun of the Dead) – Explores narrative structures of films and how they reveal ideological perspectives
  • Global Film-Making Perspectives
    • Component A: (to be confirmed – Currently Victoria and City of God) Two film study of the ways in which films create meaning through aesthetic techniques, narratives and representations
    • Component B: Documentary (Amy) – the study of differences between fiction and non-fiction films, in the way they represent society, gender and important social ideas, as examined through famous documentary film-makers
    • Component C: Silent Cinema – An examination of the debate between Realist and Expressionistic traditions of cinema through the work of Buster Keaton, and his lasting influence on contemporary film-makers
    • Component 2D: Experimental Film – the study of experimental and Post-Modern film movements through Pulp Fiction
  • Creative film-making – Students individually create a series of short films from a given brief, shoot it and edit it into a final product, and then evaluate it.

As with the GCSE course, this course would suit you if …

  • Are interested in deepening your understanding of film and film culture
  • Have an enquiring mind and enjoy analysing how films are constructed technically in depth
  • Enjoy the opportunity to undertake individual research
  • Are committed to hard work and creativity over an extended period of time
  • You have strong analytical and written skills
  • Want to be a film-maker or work in the film industry

Not too familiar with editing? Here’s some help…

Department Staff

Head of Film Studies Mr M Gunn