Toby Amies

Cinemagination

Imagination to me is the space in between everything else where anything is possible. 

When I was younger it was often a get out of jail free card. The result of panic forcing me into the automatic and super-quick creative thinking needed to get out of trouble. Or perhaps to find my way through a world I didn’t fully understand. A confusing and chaotic place where I needed to imagine the connections between things to find, and where necessary, create them. 

And imagination in my present is an extra dimension where I can travel through space and time unencumbered. Even if it’s increasingly just to I imagine I would be probably happier lying in a hammock than sitting at my desk typing. 

In my documentary work it’s not so easy to discern what role imagination plays, because there I use a camera to “steal” chunks of real life and re-contextualise them in the cinema. 

In that space what really matters is the audience’s imagination. I think the contract between us, is that you come in there wanting to believe that what is on the screen is true, which is a leap of faith and imagination; and it’s my duty to present you with something that, to me at least, is true. The process is magical and works when this “cinemagination” takes you to a place as real as truth is. 

I think what I appreciate most about imagination, in of all its possibilities, is that it gives me the choice, when I remember it, that I can always look at things a different way. 

Right now, I am imagining if what I hope to be exactly 300, useful, words, are too few or too many. Oh, and the correct positioning of at least one comma up there. 


Toby Amies is a multiple award-losing filmmaker who does his very best to tell the truth. His The Man Whose Mind Exploded is a feature-length documentary about Brighton eccentric and Salvador Dalì collaborator, Drako Zarhazar, and his new, In the Court of the Crimson King, about the legendary progressive rock group, King Crimson, has been described by Variety as “…really about as good as rock documentaries get”. He loves cats and cactus, though they are not generally a good mix.

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