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 focuses on practical tasks to demonstrate learning, but starts from a more theoretical and critical perspective, and is intended as a complementary qualification which allows students to specialise in an area they enjoy or wish to enter professionally. It looks at the way film institutions, audiences and products are inter-related, and involves a particular focus on the UK cinema industry through a case study of famous UK film production companies, as well as a direct textual comparison between two Hollywood films on the same theme. Activities include the study of production practices, film techniques and meanings, and audience readings, and these are assessed through the examined case studies as well as the practical production of a two-minute section of a film from conception to final edit. The rationale behind the course is to develop students’ critical skills so that they become critically autonomous, able to work out the meanings of texts, their ideological intentions and intended audience effects, and the techniques through which these have been achieved. Using these skills as a cornerstone, students can then begin to develop their practical film skills and build up a portfolio of products.

Year 12 Film Studies: Student Course Outline

FM1 – Coursework (40%)

FM2 – Exam (60%)

  • Section A – Written Analysis
  • Student analysis of a 3-5 minute sequence of a film of their choice, focusing on one or two micro-elements, and the sensory effect on audiences
    • Mise-en-scene
    • Sound
    • Editing
    • Cinematography
    • Performance
  • Individual 1500 word written analysis
  • Section B – Practical Project
  • Aims and context: Completion of a standardised coversheet to give a context to the creative work for assessment
  • Sequence: A 2-3 minute extract from a film, in the form of a photographic Storyboard, an Extended Step-Outline, and a production
  • Individual Reflective Analysis: Considers key MICRO features of sequence in terms of intended and actual effect
  • Group members should focus on their own role and chosen micro aspect. Can be ‘traditional’: paper based with or without illustrative material, digital – blog or web-based format, or as a DVD commentary
  • Section A – Producers And Audiences
    • Skills required: Ability to interpret of materials, problem-solving, ability to cross-reference to other sections of FM2
    • Examination: 50-minute essay (with 10 minutes reading time), based on three pieces of stimulus material, and your own case studies to answer a set question
    • Content: Hollywood and British Film Production, the inter-relationship between producers and audiences


    • Section B – British Cinema

British Cinema issues, contexts and representations within British films: Case study-based

    • Skills required: Ability to compare films and draw out trends in UK cinema, ability to contextualize texts
    • Examination: 50-minute essay in response to a set question on narrative and thematic issues, or representation issues
    • Content: A detailed study of Working Title’s output in terms of narrative, themes, common characteristics and production context. Close study films will include Four Weddings And A Funeral, Love Actually, as well as broadening out to films such as Hot Fuzz, Touching The Void and United 93.
  • Section C – Comparative US Cinema Study
    • Skills required: Ability to compare and contrast films, ability to use contextual knowledge to account for differences and similarities
    • Examination: 50-minute essay, based on a comparative study of two films
    • Content: Two films from a specific genre or with thematic links, perhaps from different historical eras, to be studied comparing narrative, genre conventions, representations and contextual factors which might account for these. Suggested examples could include The Lost Weekend and Memento, Double Indemnity and The Last Seduction, Singin’ In The Rain and Moulin Rouge, Rebel Without A Cause and Donnie Darko, or a remake of an older film.

Year 13 Film Studies: Student Course Outline

FM3 – Coursework (50%)

FM4 – Exam (2.75 hours) (50%)

  • Section A – Small-Scale Research Project
  • Research into issues of auteurship issues
  • Exploration of a focused question or problematic
  • Focus on one central film and 2-3 supporting films
  • Primary and secondary research
  • Catalogue of items: Bibliographical details and commentary on the usefulness of each source – 1000-1200 words
  • Rationale behind rejected items
  • Presentation script – 1500 words
  • Section B – Practical Application of Learning Project
  • Aims and context: Completed on a standard cover sheet
  • Sequence: A 3-5 minute extract from a film or complete short film, in the form of a screenplay or film
  • Individual Reflective Analysis: Considers key MICRO features of sequence in terms of intended and actual effect – 1000 words
  • Group members should focus on their own role and chosen micro aspect.
  • Section A – World Cinema
  • Urban Stories – Power, poverty and conflict
    • Skills required: Ability to explore themes from a variety of international films
    • Examination: 60-minute essay based on your own case studies to answer a set question
    • Content: European and international cinema, themes of violence, conflict, power and poverty, based on exploration of 4-5 films
  • Section B – Spectatorship
  • Emotional Response in Popular Cinema
    • Skills required: Ability to identify different types of audience emotional response, and who is responsible for them
    • Examination: 60-minute essay in response to a set question on audience and spectatorship issues
    • Content: A study of 4-5 different popular films, the construction of emotional response, and the debates about how and why they occur, through different theoretical perspectives
  • Section C – Single Film Critical Study
    • Skills required: Ability to analyse a chosen film, ability to use contextual knowledge, theories and debates synoptically to answer set questions
    • Examination: 45-minute essay, based on a single film
    • Content: Study of Pedro Almadovar’s Talk To Her, focusing on critical reactions to the film, critical approaches to examining the film through theoretical perspectives, and specific areas such as themes, characters and representation, narrative and genre

Department Staff

Headof Film Studies Mr M Gunn