Film Studies (KS4)

Film Studies – GCSE

Examination Board:          OCR

Course Description

GCSE Film Studies is a two-year course. During this time, you will study a range of films. These will obviously include mainstream Hollywood products, both new and old, such as The Dark Knight (2008); Toy Story (1995) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), but also films from around the world that are not in the English language. Of course, you will also look closely at British films – like Attack the Block (2011) and About a Boy (2002) as well as English language films made outside of the U.K. (from Australasia and Ireland, for example).

This course also gives you the opportunity to make a short film or to write a short screenplay, which you will then critically evaluate.


Examinations:           Two papers taken at the end of Year 11 (35% + 35%)

Coursework:             This will be individually produced (30%)

The two examinations:
            Paper One:   Contemporary Lives (35% of overall mark)

This exam lasts for 75 minutes. It will focus on key Film Studies concepts: Representation; Narrative; Aesthetics; and Contexts, in relation to British; English language (non-USA); and non-English language films.

            Paper Two:  Development of US Cinema (35% of overall mark)

This exam lasts for 105 minutes. It will focus on mainstream Hollywood cinema (1961 to present) as well as Classical Hollywood (1930 to 1960).

            Coursework:           30% of overall mark

Here you will be required to produce an individual genre-based extract from a film or screenplay in response to a brief set by the exam board. You will then carry out an evaluation of your production in relation to professionally produced films.

In GCSE Film lessons, students are expected to work co-operatively in groups as well as independently throughout the course. Small-group discussion and debate are encouraged. You will be expected to share your individual thoughts and reactions to a wide variety of films. The opportunities for practical production coursework will allow you an introduction to the Apple Mac computers in the Media Suite, digital equipment and software for video editing (including Adobe Premiere Pro).

You will be expected to read independently around the subject, organise filming and work hard to meet all internal and external deadlines. Film Studies is not an easy option. However, it is fun, rigorous and rewarding.

Most people enjoy films; most are happy to make claims about how they make us feel (emotive claims) and what we think about them (evaluative claims).  We might, for example, say that a particular film made us cry, or frightened us, or had us ‘on the edge of our seats’.  We might say a film is a ‘must see’, that ‘it wasn’t as good as his last’, that it ‘stinks’, or that it was a great story. Beyond such claims to ask how and why films make us feel the way that they do, and why we think some films are better than others.  It requires that we move beyond the story and look rather at the form of the film – how it is put together.  James Mooney 2013 (

Why Study Film?

Film is widely acknowledged as the major art form of the 20th Century and today film continues to be an important part of most people’s cultural experience. The GCSE Film Studies course is designed to build upon students’ own experience of film – as consumers and creators – and to encourage a recognition of the complexity of this experience within an increasingly globalised, interconnected environment.

Starting with the familiar, the course allows students to study films and the ways in which they are experienced, the importance of visual representation in today’s global society and the place film has in communicating ideas, attitudes and cultural beliefs, both now and in the past.

We approach this through three inter-related study areas, which act as a framework for studying and creating film:

  • The ‘language’ of film
  • The organisations which produce, distribute and exhibit them and
  • The audiences for film.

 The aim of GCSE Film Studies is to enable YOU:

  •  to develop your analytical and textual analysis skills. To help you become confident readers of films in terms of key universal concepts such as narrative, genre, representation and aesthetics
  • to develop your research, investigative and production skills. To help you develop the academic and practical skills to work both independently and collaboratively.
  • to develop your evaluative skills that allow you to evaluate your own productions in relation to professionally produced films.

“Film is life, with the dull bits cut out” (Alfred Hitchcock, Film Director)


Further information on Film Studies can be obtained from Mr Jonathan Olliver, Head of Film Studies: (