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GCSE Film Studies. Course Overview. Exploring Film. 30%. Exam: 1 Hour 30 mins. Film Outside Hollywood. 20%. Exam: 1 Hour. Exploring & Creating. 50%. Coursework. Exploring Film – Paper 1. The exam aims to develop: Skills in film analysis Knowledge of genre conventions

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Course overview
Course Overview

Exploring Film


Exam: 1 Hour 30 mins

Film Outside Hollywood


Exam: 1 Hour

Exploring & Creating



Exploring film paper 1
Exploring Film – Paper 1

  • The exam aims to develop:

  • Skills in film analysis

  • Knowledge of genre conventions

  • Awareness of how audiences are targeted

Assessment paper 1
Assessment – Paper 1

4 Compulsory Questions:

  • Respond to an unseen moving image stimulus.

    One Question on Film Language

    One Question on Genre

  • Respond to a still image stimulus.

    One question on marketing/promotion

  • Creative Task

    Series of small tasks assessing films in

    relation to audience and industry

    Set genre for first examination in Summer 2009 and last examination in 2012 will be Disaster films.

The unseen extract film language
The unseen extract - film language

  • This question will expect students to discuss aspects of film language such as:

  • The use of camera shots and movement

  • The mise-en-scène

  • The pace and type of editing used

  • The significance of sound

Exploring genre
Exploring Genre

  • Exploration of the ‘typical ingredients’ of specific genres – what we have come to like and expect.

  • Focus upon: setting, themes, characters, props, narrative and plot, style.

  • Students should look for patterns of variation as well as repetition.

  • Begin to build to a more complex definition of genre as something that is dynamic and open to change.

  • Focus on the ways in which films mix genres.

Independence day
Independence Day

  • What typical aspects of the disaster genre are evident in this sequence?


    a. Identify one camera shot.

    b. Say why it is used.

    c. How are camera shots and editing used to emphasise the dramatic events in this sequence?

Deep impact question 2
Deep Impact – question 2

  • What typical aspects of the disaster genre are evident in this sequence?

  • What typical disaster movie themes can you identify?

  • What relationships and characters are important? Why? How is the film narrative ‘resolved’?

Disaster conventions
Disaster conventions

  • Most Disaster Movies have a linear narrative that leads up to and away from the central disaster.

  • When the disaster is towards the end of the film the narrative is even simpler, a ‘will they won’t they’ countdown to doom or escape provides the narrative.

  • ‘High concept’, little need for plot details as disaster bound to happen

  • Characters and their relationships run alongside the disaster and maintain ‘human interest’.

Themes issues
Themes & Issues

  • Relationships

  • Self-sacrifice/redemption

  • Working together

  • Nature & people’s arrogance

  • Greed/cutting corners

Characters stars
Characters & Stars

  • The hero.

  • The reluctant hero.

  • The bad guy.

  • The bad guy turned good.

  • The self doubter.

  • The kid(s).

  • The strong woman.

  • The damsel in distress.

  • The bureaucrat.

  • The voice in the wilderness.

  • The support.

  • The victims

  • These characters more often than not are thrown together and forced to work out their differences in order to survive. Many of these characters are simple, what is called ‘one dimensional’.

Industry response
Industry response

  • The third question will expect students to respond to a stimulus and show knowledge of the industry in their response.

  • The focus will be on industry issues raised by a print-based stimulus (production, marketing, exhibition issues?)

  • Again students should show awareness of genre conventions but also industry conventions

Teaser posters
Teaser posters

  • What genre conventions are being used to draw audiences to this teaser poster?

War of the worlds

  • How are images used to promote ‘War of the Worlds’ in this homepage?

  • What other information is given that helps to sell the film to audiences?

Creative question
Creative question this DVD of TITANIC?

  • The final question on the exam paper gives students an opportunity to be creative WHILST proving their knowledge of industry and genre conventions.

  • Reassure them artistic skills are not as important as imagination and knowledge.

  • Students must keep an eye on timing, and mark allocations (spend more time on questions with higher marks!)

Possible tasks
Possible tasks this DVD of TITANIC?

  • Design a film poster

  • Design a homepage

  • Opening of a film magazine article

  • Come up with a new disaster film

  • Storyboard a sequence

  • A section of a script


  • This paper brings together students’ knowledge of:

    film language

    film industry

    film genre

  • The best grades will be achieved by the students who see the connections between all three.