Academic Group 6 Subjects

Tips for Film HL/SL

Due to its uniqueness, taking a Group 6 subject in IB is an incredible experience. However, we know it can also be challenging with the lack of resources out there. I decided to interview an HL Film student, taking IB in Australia, to get a few tips and tricks for mastering the subject:

1. Play to your strengths!

Pick movies, genres and roles for your respective assignments which you enjoy, instead of those which ‘look easiest to analyse’. Have a piece that truly interests you, no matter how difficult it may seem. It’s a pleasure to rewatch AND analyse films you like! Consequently, it’s easier to score top marks!

2. Always have a notebook!

Take a small notepad and pen with you whenever you’re out filming. Jot down difficulties, shot-specifics (aperture, ISO, shutter speed etc.), and other notes from your shoots. This makes the process of reflecting (especially in the film portfolio) so much easier.

3. Watch loads of films!

It might seem obvious, but for an IB student who doesn’t have oodles of time, schedule in watching films over your two years to continuously develop analytical skills and creativity. If you’re a Film student, you’re lucky that your syllabus requires you to watch films! Seize the opportunity!

4. Pay attention to contexts!

For the Textual Analysis – place a heavy emphasis on the cultural context of the chosen film, alongside the technical choices made and the directorial intentions behind them.

5. For the Film comparative study, add diversity!

For the comparative study, ensure to pick films with differing cultural contexts AND time periods (just to be safe), and include (but place less of a focus, compared to the Textual Analysis, on) cultural context. Dedicate more time to an even-handed comparison of both films in relation to the area of film focus (which must be a genre, movement or theory).

Overall, IB Film will provide you with an incredible insight into and experience in a broad range of processes within filmmaking. Development of both the analytical and practical skills will be perfect for anyone looking to enter a related career later in life, or simply for interested students who would like exposure to a subject completely different from the other IB Groups 1-5. Not only this, but film students enjoy the creation of lasting memories, exploring their creative sides forming great connections with the other students in their class through the range of collaborative tasks. If it’s something you are at all interested in, taking IB Film won’t be a decision you regret!

More information on Film HL/SL can be found in the IB subject guide

Note: Film is also offered as an online SL subject by Pamoja Education for interested students whose schools don’t offer the subject. If you are interested in taking any Pamoja course, make sure to contact your IB Coordinator!

*Credit to Jasper Dew (IB HL Film November 2021, Australia)

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