I think a big question for anyone going into graduate school, especially in the Humanities, is: what does your discipline actually do?
I found this blog post by Chris Cagle, visiting Prof at Temple University, that outlines four major themes in the study of film. I think he did a great job listing the reasons why Film Studies is worthy as a 'scholarly project' in the university.
See his blog post for his description of each of these categories, but the four categories he breaks the discipline of Film Studies into are:
1.) "Film studies as a literary-interpretive project"
2.)"Film studies as a historical-explanatory project"
3.)"Film studies as an aesthetics-systematizing project"
4.)"Film studies as a philosophical project"
In terms of my own studies, and because I am interested in global and transnational films in particular, these categories combined with the study of specific locations of filmmaking within the world - the people, modes of production, and ways in which culture and aesthetics work together - gives a pretty clear definition of the job of the 'Film Studies scholar.' And all of these things are necesarily political, giving scholarship in the field a sort of productive force in terms of commentary on political situations.