Your Research


Please complete this Google Form to outline your initial ideas for the comparative project.

Recording Your Research

Over the next week in lessons and for independent study you must conduct some independent research into:

  • Your film focus
  • Your two films

You need to aim to find approx 5 research sources that helped you understand your film focus and analyse your own films/sequences using that approach:

These sources should include:

  1. A quote from the teachers’ research notes.
  2. Reviews of your films
  3. One Book
  4. Magazine articles
  5. Websites
  6. Other video essays

This research must be recorded and referenced using the Harvard System.

One way in which you can record this research is to use a slide show, with a slide per source. Here is a slide show template you can use.

Film Theory


Research one of the following film theories:

  • Feminist Film Theory
  • Marxist Film Theory
  • Soviet Montage
  • Structuralism & Film
  • Postmodern Film

  1. Find a short definition that sums up the theoretical approach.
  2. Name  an important theorist.
  3. Identify 3 films which are considered important within that theory.
  4. Identify 3 recent films which might be explored using the theory.
Our Research

Film Movements

Watch this

From this video choose one film movement which you would like to learn more about.

Find a secondary research source that introduces and explain the film movement you have chosen and list 5 films that came out of your film movement.

Write a one sentence definition for that film movement, which describes it’s look and intentions.

  1. British New Wave
  2. Scandinavian Revival
  3. Japanese Golden Age
  4. New Queer Cinema
  5. Third Cinema
  6. Italian Neorealism
  7. German Expressionism
  8. Soviet Montage – ME
  9. Golden Age of Hollywood
  10. La Nouvelle Vague
Our Research

Film Genre & Style

Genre Analysis

Sound easy? Well it is! Genre analysis is done in three steps.

1 Define the corpus.

That is, agree on a group of films that you think are ‘pure’ example of the genre.

This definition may be done in combination with secondary research.

So: Fantasy Corpus:

  1. Lord of the Rings
  2. Harry Potter
  3. Shrek
2 Decide what features of those films are conventional in terms of their genre.
This Theoretical Process is Outlined Here

This means agreeing on a Repertoire of Elements, which are similar across the corpus and indeed necessary for a film to be given a genre label. In this case ‘Fantasy Film’.

An Example analysis of the fantasy genre

3 Analyse your text using those defined conventions

Once you’ve defined those conventions, you need to consider how far your film is similar and/or different compared to those conventional features.

So, after all that, your film focus genre question becomes…

What are the generic conventions of a given genre and how similar and/or different is a given film?

Choosing a Personal Movie


Choose three films you would love to study.

Some advice:

  1. Avoid big franchises movies
  2. Use films that have been on your watch list for a while.
  3. Find films which have won awards or been critically well received.
  4. Find directors who go against the mainstream. Who are working as independents.
  5. Think of the sorts of films we have studied on the course.
  6. Choose films by a director you admire
  7. Perhaps a foreign language film?


You cannot choose a film we have studied together during the course or in any other part of your IB studies (Extended Essay). So that means Pan’s Labyrinth, The Dark Knight, Nosferatu, Let The Right One In & all the films we studies for the textual analysis are off limits!

Some ideas:


The Comparative Study

Key Information

Here is the guidance  from the IB Film Specification Guide

The Comparative Video Essay.

Here is the assessment criteria

 Dates and Deadline
  • Script Deadline – Monday 26th November
  • Draft 1 Deadline – Monday 10th December
  • Final Deadline – Friday 21st December
Week 1
  • Introduction to film focus:
    • Genre & Style
    • Film Theory
    • Film Movements
  • Select Focus Film and/or Film Focus
Week 2
  • Select comparative film & film focus
    • Comparative film must have different cultural context.
  • Research into movement, theory, genre…
  • Research into focus film (critical reception)
  • Teacher meeting 1.
    • Develop research question
Week 3
  • Scripting
  • Assembling task components
Week 4
  • Teacher meeting 2 – Group Seminars
    • Read / discuss draft scripts
Week 5
  • Record Commentary
  • Assembly video
  • Draft 1
Week 6
  • Teacher meeting 3
    • Formative Feedback
Week 7
  • Final Draft & Deadline

Film Portfolio Feedback

The Reel

  • Put your best work last.
    • Show development & improvement.
  • You must use black slates to introduce the task(s) in that role and how long each clip runs. For example:

  • You should use black slates between tasks.
  • There should be no copyrighted music in your reel.

The Portfolio Pages

You must define your creative intention for each task!

“Students who fail to clearly state their filmmaker intentions for a film production role will be limited to a mark of 1 in criterion A for that role.”

  • Use a different colour font and make it bold.

The pages should show development & should link:

  • Inquiry – What have you learnt? Leads to …
  • Action – How did you practically apply that learning? Leads to..
  • Reflection – What did you achieve and how would you improve in future?

“…use the language of the inquiry cycle to show how exploration leads to discovery through action and to appropriate evaluation of the impact of research…”

Inquiry Pages
  • You should define the production role on the inquiry page.
  • Quote the sources and then explain what you have learnt.
  • The inquiry page for the horror film, should include some research on German Expressionism or Horror.
Action Pages

The action pages are where you get practical & technical. You should include comments on:

  • Narrative / Character development techniques in the screenplay.
  • Camera Settings
  • Lighting & Camera Setups
  • Timelines, transitions  and effects in the edit.
  • Rehearsals, blocking and actors’ notes.
Reflection Pages

The first thing in your reflection page / section must be a sentence on, how far have you met your creative intention. Think…

  • What went well?
  • Even better if?
  • Link back to inquiry & reflect forward (Next time I would…)

There should be some textual analysis of your own work in the reflection pages.

  • How did your role / decisions contribute to meaning?

Presentation & Layout

  1. The images should take up no more than 20% of the page leaving 80% for your writing.
  2. The images should be relevant and significant – not just YouTube thumbnails
  3. The images must be labelled & referenced on the bibliography page
  4. The link between the images and your words must be obvious.
    • Draw a line!
  5. Proof read for spelling, punctuation and sense.
  6. A helpful structure to your pages could be:
    • Pre Production (Development & Planning)
    • Production (The Shoot)
    • Post Production (The Edit)

The Bibliography

Everything should be referenced:

  • Video essays
  • Articles
  • Books (probably from the video essays)
  • Films

You should use Harvard Referencing

Micro Analysis

During this week you should be completing a close micro analysis of your sequence from your film.

So, let’s get down to the micro…

This is a process that you should be familiar with:

  1. Identify specific examples of production techniques:
    • Cinematography
    • Editing
    • Sound
    • Mise-en-scene
      • These examples must be named with a technical term
  2. Analyse the impact that technique, in combination with others, on the audience?
    • How do ‘we’ read the text?

Previous blog posts that contain most of the terms your need:

Sound Design
Production Design

Here are our mind maps on the four micro elements.

Studying the sequence

You should watch the sequence a minimum of five times.

  1. The first watch without stopping to get the gist of the sequence and place it the narrative context of the whole film.
  2. The second and third time should be a stop start screening, where you are looking for specific examples of the film element you are focusing on. You should also consider the immediate emotional impact of the technique (in combination with other micro areas) on the spectator.
  3. The fourth time should be to consider the representation of the characters. What do we now know about the characters that we didn’t know at the beginning of the scene?
  4. The fifth is to try and think about the scene within the whole film how does it contribute to the development of the characters and themes within the whole film

Here are documents to help you make notes on the four micro features as you watch the sequence.

Textual Analysis Research

Links to the Films

Your Initial Response

Complete one of these documents in preparation

Context / Film Research.

You’ve got one week to conduct the research necessary to help you understand your chosen film:

  • Character Representation
  • Narrative
  • Genre
  • Visual Style
  • Historical Context
  • Critical Reception (Reviews)

By the end of the week you will submit a proposed sequence from your film as well as an essay question which will help you focus on the sequence as well as link your ideas to the whole film. You should take a copy of this document to record the research that you undertake this week.

Some Sources to Get you Started

Days of Heaven

Lighting in Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven Close Analysis

Reference: Zucker, C. (2001) ‘ “God Don’t Even Hear You,” or Paradise Lost: Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven.”’, Literature Film Quarterly, 29(1), p. 2.


Nerdwriter (Animating Light)

20 Years of Japanese Cinema – Media Magazine Article

Reference: Ramey, M, 2009. Cinema of Japan. Media Magazine, 27, 7-12.

La Haine

Structure, culture and cinematography.

Ghetto Culture – Media Magazine Article

Reference:  Turner, P, 2011. Ghetto Culture. Media Magazine, 35, 19-22.