GHOST AMBER is the latest film from our long term collaborator and crew member Tim ‘Cinema Iloobia’ Grabham.

Currently the production is in lockdown thanks to circuit breaking Covid-19, but between him editing SODO EXPRESS and juggling remote jobs, we managed to catch up and have a quick chat about where he is at with his latest production..


GHOST AMBER is a film about celluloid film, memory and the inevitable impermanence of things. Although it is loosely speaking a documentary, there are fictional elements in there as well – particularly the ghost aspect of it – and quite a substantial amount of animation.


Following on from my co-directorial documentary features ‘KanZeOn’ (2011 with Neil Cantwell), and ‘The Creeping Garden’ (2014 with Jasper Sharp), as well as the experimental celluloid vandalism short ‘Films To Break Projectors’ (2017), GHOST AMBER is my first solo directorial feature.

I really want to break even further away from familiar documentary conventions. Also, I’ve always been drawn to films that blur the line between fiction and non fiction and so this is one of the attractions of this project. It’s also a great opportunity to work with Neil Cantwell again, who is co-producing the project and contributing to the score. And there are a multitude of artists, musicians and creative minds who I admire and who have been kind enough to contribute to the project.

On a personal level it matters to me because I want to see if I can effectively make a film that expresses its ideas in a less formal and less conventional way, but still have an impact on its audience. I have become rather numbed by the familiar structures and approaches I see play out time and time again in the documentary genre, refined over and over so many times that often the resulting film feels like it has rolled off a conveyor belt. There is a place for this of course, in the same way as there is a place for elevator music and ready meals. However I believe that resisting repetition of tried and tested formulas and instead exploring less trodden paths is vital, or the medium simply shrivels up with ever decreasing relevance as an art form.


Right now there is a 40 minute cut of what will eventually become a 70 odd minute film. There is a lot of very time consuming animation in it so that has kept me busy during the last year or so. What has been unexpected however is the current coronavirus situation. It has effected everything, and has given a very profound perspective on what impermanence means to us, our society and our behaviour. So I feel this current crisis and its consequences will inevitably infuse themselves into the film and give new perspectives to its themes.


At present, only two thirds off the film has been shot as the production came to a standstill when the Covid-19 outbreak began. I’m sure that this is the story of so many productions, and I am very grateful that at least I had some material to edit during this uncertain period. As for finishing the film, the future is very misty at present so it is very hard to know when it will be possible to travel overseas to do shoots again. And although it feels comforting to imagine returning back to some kind of normality, my feeling is that we are going to move forward into a new state of living as oppose to returning to what was before. So with that in mind, I think I need to be adaptable in order to finish the film, and if that means rethinking how to continue it then that is fine.

If you also have a production in lockdown and would love to share you experiences, please get in touch here. To find out more about GHOST AMBER, check out the site here and you can get in touch directly with director Tim Grabham here.