Distribution and Markets (EAFM200)

StaffProfessor William Higbee - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 12 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to: 

  • Guide you in understanding the processes shaping film production, distribution, and exhibition in the international film business.
  • Ask you to think and write critically about how films are prepared for and delivered to audiences in specific historical, cultural, and industrial contexts, drawing on major examples from North American, European, and World film cultures. 
  • Encourage you to develop your own advanced insight into the constantly evolving practices of film distribution and exhibition that characterise the global independent film business.
  • Encourage you to make use of a research archive (in this case the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum) as a resource for participation in taught classes, independent study and coursework assignments and to provide you with the relevant training to use this archival resource.
  • Develop the practical skills required for you to devise, programme, market and deliver a group pop-up cinema assignment.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of production, distribution, and exhibition practices in the international film business across a range of historical periods and key markets and territories
  • 2. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the academic debates in the field, and the key issues pertaining to an analysis of film production, distribution, and exhibition practices in the international film business
  • 3. Critically analyse at an advanced level case studies that exemplify particular phases in the development of global film in both the independent and mainstream industries
  • 4. Think and write critically about how films in US, European and World cinema are prepared for and delivered to audiences in specific historical, cultural and industrial contexts, covering such issues as planning, production, marketing, release patterns, and impact
  • 5. Prepare a group pop-up cinema assignment

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. Produce advanced analyses of key case studies from films and production histories studied on this module
  • 7. Analyse the inter-relation of films to various textual and contextual factors (including the industrial context of film production, distribution and exhibition), in order to conduct research and engage in critical discussion and debate
  • 8. Analyse film history and creative industry studies in a global context

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Through essay-writing, demonstrate advanced research and bibliographic skills, an advanced and intellectually mature capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument and to write clear and correct prose
  • 10. Through research for seminars, essays, and presentations demonstrate an advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis
  • 11. Through preparation of the pop-up cinema assignment, work in a group to deliver a shared project and gain experience of event management

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

Weeks 1-6: 

An introduction to the historical development of key and emerging film markets across the globe and the current challenges facing these markets. The lectures will be supported by two x 2-hour workshops discussing individual national cinemas as case studies and the selected films for this module, with group presentations by students.

A 3-day field-trip to the London Film Festival (mid-October depending on the dates of the festival) will also be included as part of the first six weeks of this module

There will also be a session on ‘pop-up cinema’ and alternative distribution practices to help you prepare for the pop-up cinema assignment in week 12.

Weeks 7-11:

Coverage of key themes relating to production, distribution and exhibition, delivered via 2-hour lecture/seminar and 1-hour workshops:

  • Co-production: funding and cultural politics
  • The role of festivals and markets
  • Adaptation and the screenplay
  • Technology: innovation and disruption
  • Film marketing: Stars as capital value

Sessions in weeks 7-11 will make use of relevant archival material in the Bill Douglas Museum.

Week 12:

Pop-up cinema event delivered in Bill Douglas Cinema Museum (if the museum is unavailable for any reason, an alternative venue will be secured)


Screenings of two case study films will be arranged in advance of lectures in weeks 1-6 and one film from weeks 7-11. You will be advised of the list of required viewing in advance by the module tutor. You can elect to watch these films independently but are encouraged to attend the group screenings in order to watch the films in the best viewing conditions possible.  

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching34 Lectures (17 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Seminars: (3 x 2 hours, 5 x 1 hour) and tutorials (2 x 30 minutes spread across the term)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Module induction
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 183-day field trip to London Film Festival
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 7Teaching, consultation and delivery of pop-up cinema assignment
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 8Guest speaker events
Guided Independent Study34Independent/group viewing of selected screenings (primary film texts) for lectures, seminars and workshops, as directed by tutors
Guided Independent Study177Reading and preparation for lectures, seminars, workshops, presentations, cinema assignment and assessed coursework

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written response paper500 words2, 4, 6-9Written feedback from tutor(s)

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group Presentation2530 minute oral presentation (Powerpoint presentation and hand-outs used by group in presentation submitted to tutor(s) at the end of presentation)1-3, 6-8, 10Oral feedback in class, written feedback from tutor(s)
Essay252500 words1-4, 6-10Written feedback from tutor(s)
Group pop-up cinema event30Design, marketing and delivery of a 60-75 minute programme of short films as part of a pop-up cinema event5, 8, 11Written feedback from tutor(s)
Pop-up cinema event report (group submission)202000 words5, 8-9, 11Written feedback from tutor(s)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group presentationWritten summary of group presentation (2000 words)1-3, 6-10Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay (2500 words)1-4, 6-10Referral/deferral period
Group pop-up cinema eventLogbook summary of pop-up event (3000 words)1-3, 5-11Referral/deferral period
Critical Reflection of pop-up eventEssay (2000 words)1-3, 5-11Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Reassessment exercises will carry the same weightings as the original assessments.

The pop-up cinema event cannot be re-assessed as this is a one-off, one day event with a public audience. Instead you will submit a logbook summarising the development and delivery of this event.

The group presentation cannot be re-assessed – instead you will submit a written summary of your individual contribution to the original group presentation.

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Bespoke package of articles, cases and other readings prepared in the form of a digital module reader and accessed via ELE.

Required viewing:

A programme of films will be selected by tutors that can be used as case studies for the given topics covered that week in the given lecture/seminar/workshop. These currently include:

  • Amélie (Jeunet, 2001)
  • Aria (Various, producer Don Boyd, 1987)
  • The Big Sleep (Hawks, 1946)
  • The Birds (Hitchcock, 1963)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's (Edwards, 1961)
  • La Haine (Kassovitz, 1995)
  • Un homme qui crie/a screaming man (Haroun, 2010)
  • In the Mood for Love (Wong-kar wai, 2000)
  • Moulin Rouge (Luhrmann, 2001)
  • Om Shanti Om,  (Farah Khan, 2007)
  • Les Plages d’Agnès (Varda, 2008)
  • Russian Ark (Sokurov, 2002)
  • Sex, Lies and Videotape (Soderberg, 1989)
  • Skyfall (Mendes, 2012)
  • Spirited away (Hayao, 2001)
  • Touki bouki (Mambety, 1973)
  • Under the Skin (Glazer, 2013)

Additional Recommended reading:

  • Dale, Martin, The Movie Game: the film business in Britain, Europe and America , Cassel, 1997.
  • De Valck, Marijke, Film Festivals: from European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia, Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam, 2007.King, Geoff et al, American Independent Cinema: indie, indiewood, and beyond, London: Routledge, 2013.
  • Finney, A. (2014) The International Film Business: A market Guide beyond Hollywood, 2nd edition, Routledge, London
  • MacDonald, Paul and Wasko, Janet (eds.) The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry, London: Blackwell, 2008Wong, Cindy H., Film Festivals: culture, people and power on the global screen, New Brunswick (NJ) / London: Rutgers University Press, 2011.
  • Spicer, Andrew et alBeyond the Bottom Line: The Producer in Film and Television Studies, London: Bloomsbury, 2014

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Archival material in the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Film business, distribution, exhibition