In space, no one can hear you scream.

Silence seems to have become a key cue in the science fiction film, from Scott and Cameron's iterations of the Alien franchise (Alien UK/US 1979 and Aliens US 1986), through Nolan's Interstellar (US 2014), and Cuaron's Gravity (US 2014) to the recent outing Arrival (US 2016 dir: Denis Villeneuve). Silence is a of course a feature of a vacuum, but is this why it is also a feature of some science fiction film? There are obvious connotations one could read into ...

Readying year two students for their Independent study

[video width="720" height="540" m4v="http://blogs.osc-ib.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Planning-the-Independent-Study.m4v"] This post is a transcript of a presentation (above) which I made to my own students following feedback on their first attempts in identifying topics and tackling a rationale for their Independent studies. The Independent Study The rationale – maximum 100 words The screenplay -  8 to 10 pages (no gaps or unnaturally large margins – examiners have seen this all before) The annotated list of sources What is the IS? A research paper A highly engaging potential documentary film ...

‘Drones’ (Rosenthal US 2013): the rarest of things in popular cinema. An allegory.

This one is just a relatively quick post. More by way of recommendation than anything else. I was pleasantly surprised this week to discover a film called 'Drones' (Rosenthal US 2013). Essentially I was searching for some kind of guilty pleasure to pass a lonesome evening by, and such a contemporary take on the 'war on terror was potentially diverting. This film promised a fairly conventional low budget fare, the action being confined as it was to a simple functional box of ...

Exploring gender representations in the independent study

This post is an attempt to explain how one can approach the subject of representations in reading movie narratives, and to be taken seriously in the independent study. My primary intention is to offer some weight to those of you who might have students interested in exploring gender representations. Far too many independent study about gender representations confine themselves to the unfairness or narrowness of stereotypes as perceived through plot device. When what they should do is to use the ...

A first exercise towards the independent study

As we all know, the independent study for IB film is a monstrously complex beast of a summative assessment task. For those of you who have read some of my earlier posts, in particular my reviews of the 2013 examiners' report, the section devoted to the independent study made very strong recommendations that IB film teachers try to scaffold the learning of their students so that they don't have to tackle understanding the ins and outs of this task while ...

Steven Soderbergh and Geurrilla Film making

Steven Soderbergh is always an interesting commentator on contemporary trends in film making and has been instrumental in the growing legitimacy of digital video  through his early adoption of it and his advocacy of  the development of RED camera system. In his last few films before his self imposed retirement from film making Soderbergh seems to have explored some of the impact of DV for his films. The particular example which brings this to mind is a chase sequence at the ...

Examination Report 2013 part 3 – The Independent Study

In my blogs entries over the last month or so I've ben reviewing the 2013 examiners' report. I've divided these so that I can explore the observations on each of the three assessment components in detail. In this entry I'll try to interpret observations made on the Independent studies submitted for examination in 2013. As a supplement to this I would recommend a document I wrote for my own students, based on my observations from the scripts I examined during the May ...

An Idea for Story Development

If (for those of you in the northern hemisphere) your creative mojo is a little rusty after the long Summer vacation, here's an idea that might invite some story and plot development to get you back into the groove for the new academic year. The following scenario is one I've occasionally loaned to students during my time teaching film and media studies; it seems to help those suffering from a bit of writer's block. This is an account of an incident ...