Film Studies is a GCSE that pupils study over two years through WJEC. Film Studies provides students with the opportunity to specialise in studying specifically film through a series of assignments that result in a piece of practical film making and two exams, taken at the end of the course.

Students complete controlled assessment, worth 50 % of the final GCSE. This area will take up the first year of study in Year 10 and encompasses the following areas:

Introductory assignment: Exploring a film of students’ choice. Pupils will be taught the micro features of film language and then use these skills to explore an extract from a film of their choice. Students will be taught to write concisely as there is a word limit of 350 – 750 words.

The second assignment requires students to create a pitch for an imaginary film and then use it as the basis for preproduction tasks such as a storyboard and script. Students will then produce one of the following: a short sequence from the film; home page and linked page; a press pack for the new film. Students may work collaboratively on this but must be able to provide evidence of their input. Students must then evaluate their work drawing on film language, film organisations and audiences.

In Year 11 students will study Superhero films and complete an exam lasting one and a half hours. Students will be shown an extract from a Super Hero film and be expected to respond to it via a series of questions. The exam will also include questions that require a creative and design-based response. They will also study one film outside of Hollywood for their second exam, this lasts for one hour. Films that may be studied for this exam are: Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France/Germany, 2001), Bend It Like Beckham (Gurinder Chadha, UK/Germany/US, 2002), The Boy in Striped Pyjamas (Mark Herman, UK/USA, 2008), The Devil’s Backbone (Guillermo del Toro, Mexico/Spain, 2001), Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Parronaud, France, 2007), Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, UK/France, 1999), Rabbit-Proof Fence (Phillip Noyce, Australia, 2002), Tsotsi (Gavin Hood, South Africa/UK, 2005), The Wave (Dennis Gansel, Germany, 2008), Yasmin (Kenneth Glenaan, UK/Germany, 2004).

Students are required to be independent learners; investigating texts of their own choosing and deciding on the avenues of a topic that they would like to explore. For example, when studying Super Hero films pupils will be expected to study their own examples. Students of film studies should be creative thinkers; able to come up with original ideas and concepts. Students should also be enthusiastic participants in class discussion and practical workshops. At times, pupils may work in small groups and therefore required to possess good communication skills and the ability to operate within a team.

In Year 10 students have access to IT resources and the Editing studio to produce practical work. Students will have access to Editshare, in The Studio, where they can save large project files. Students use ‘portfolio’ type workbooks to present their planning and preparation. The expectation is that work is presented to a high standard and portfolios should show a clear sense of progression when studying a topic. Portfolios are marked regularly and targets set by both students and teaching staff. Controlled assessment tasks must be completed in school and will be retained by subject teachers. Students are also encouraged to use their school email accounts to complete homework tasks and plan with other students. In Year 11, film analysis lessons will be mainly classroom based, although pupils will have access to IT to complete independent research. In addition to texts studied in class, students are expected to study texts in their own time, keeping notes in their portfolios.

All students are provided with an assessment booklet that includes the GCSE grading criteria set out in bands. Staff will introduce students to the criteria at the start of each unit, with the emphasis on students achieving their target grade or above. On the submission of each assignment pupils will receive feedback from their teacher; indicating the criteria they have fulfilled and what they need to do to reach the next band. Class teachers will provide notional grades. There is also a section in the booklet for students to feed back and set action points that can be agreed with their class teacher.