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Film is a powerful and stimulating art form and practice.

The Diploma Programme (DP) film course aims to develop students as proficient interpreters and makers of film texts. Through the study and analysis of film texts, and through practical exercises in film production, the film course develops students’ critical abilities and their appreciation of artistic, cultural, historical and global perspectives in film. Students examine film concepts, theories, practices and ideas from multiple perspectives, challenging their own viewpoints and biases in order to understand and value those of others.

DP film students experiment with film and multimedia technology, acquiring the skills and creative competencies required to successfully communicate through the language of the medium. They develop an artistic voice and learn how to express personal perspectives through film.

The film course emphasizes the importance of working collaboratively. It focuses on the international and intercultural dynamic that triggers and sustains contemporary film, while fostering in students an appreciation of the development of film across time, space and culture. DP film students are challenged to understand alternative views, to respect and appreciate the diverse cultures that exist within film, and to have open and critical minds.

At the core of the DP film course lies the need for creative exploration and innovation. Students are challenged to acquire and develop critical thinking, reflective analysis and the imaginative synthesis that is achieved through practical engagement in the art, craft and study of film.

Key features of the curriculum model

To fully prepare students for the demands of the assessment tasks, teachers should ensure that their planning addresses each of the syllabus activities outlined below, the content and focus of which is not prescribed.


Core syllabus areas

Reading film

SL and HL students will examine film as an art form, studying a broad range of film texts from a variety of cultural contexts and analysing how film elements combine to convey meaning.

Contextualizing film

SL and HL students will explore the evolution of film across time, space and culture. Students will examine various areas of film focus in order to recognize the similarities and differences that exist between films from contrasting cultural contexts.

Exploring film production roles

SL and HL students will explore various film production roles through engagement with all phases of the filmmaking process in order to fulfill their own filmmaker intentions. Students acquire, develop and apply skills through filmmaking exercises, experiments and completed films.

Collaboratively producing film (HL only)

HL students focus on the collaborative aspects of filmmaking and experience working in core production teams in order to fulfill shared artistic intentions. They work in chosen film production roles and contribute to all phases of the filmmaking process in order to collaboratively create original completed films.


 Key features of the assessment model

  • Available at standard (SL) and higher levels (HL)
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally


External/ Internal



Textual analysis

Students at SL and HL demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how meaning is constructed in film. They do this through a written analysis of a prescribed film text based on a chosen extract (lasting no more than five minutes) from that film. Students consider the cultural context of the film and a variety of film elements.




Comparative study

Students at SL and HL carry out research into a chosen area of film focus, identifying and comparing two films from within that area and presenting their discoveries as a recorded multimedia comparative study.




Film portfolio

Students at SL and HL undertake a variety of film-making exercises in three film production roles, led by clearly defined filmmaker intentions. They acquire and develop practical skills and techniques through participation in film exercises, experiments and the creation of at least one completed film.




Collaborative film project (HL only)

Bringing together all they have encountered during the film course, students at HL work collaboratively in a core production team to plan and create an original completed









Learn more about film in a DP workshop for teachers. 

Film subject brief

Subject briefs are short two-page documents providing an outline of the course. Read the standard level (SL) and/or higher level (HL) subject brief below. 


Film SL & HL (PDF, 43 KB) pdf