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Amber Amare

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Amber Amare is a Plymouth-based filmmaker specialising in camera operation, sound recording and editing.

Plymouth is home to a number of exciting, diverse and innovative filmmakers – and none more so than Amber Amare.

Amber specialises in camera operation, sound recording and editing. In fact, this talented 26-year-old has about FOUR jobs at the moment!

She works at the University of Plymouth (UoP) as a film technician by day, and at the weekend works for the British Film Institute at Plymouth College of Art, running the filmmaking academy – “which is awesome”, she says.

Somewhere in between that, Amber creates films, and works freelance on commercials, short dramas and feature films.

Amber has been working in this industry for the past five years, building her confidence up to be a Director of Photography and Creative Director – “that’s the dream, anyway!” she laughs.

Originally from Slough, she moved down and studied at Plymouth College of Art until 2017. You can’t miss Amber when she’s filming, because she pretty much wears the same yellow hat on every shoot, though “not intentionally”.

Amber has lots of exciting things in the pipeline. She says: “My own work is varied because I like to keep trying new things and see what I am capable of, but also what I enjoy doing.

“Alongside making a fresh BFI Academy curriculum for this year’s cohort, I’m working on a narrative music video, a short comedy film in Cornwall and some secret funded work within our own city. I’m also finishing up a dance/visual film in Collaboration with DigitalRebels for The Barbican Theatre.“

Amber is also hoping that at least one of her BFI students meets their goals.

“They all have the capability to do anything they want and work in the industry that they have chosen. I hope that through my little bit of knowledge and experience, they can be proud of how far they came and be proud to have started somewhere that’s harder to get involved in filmmaking. I also hope that they change the industry for the better,” she says.

As a filmmaker, inspiration is key – but where does Amber get her inspiration from?

“Filmmaking wise, I am inspired by Reed Morano, Greta Gerwig, Pablo Larraín, Idris Elba,” she says.

“But life-wise, I am inspired by the people around me and the resilience they show. I’m particularly inspired by my Mum, who ignored everyone and went after her goal in life. And my Best friend, Dajain Daley, who’s also a filmmaker in Plymouth. photographer Brett Lockwood… now it’s starting to feel like an acceptance speech!

“Through the BFI, I want to show young people that it’s not a matter of location to get a creative job. That through exploring and connecting, you can have a fully active work life in your own community, away from London.

“I hope that my personal work impacts the way of looking at freelancers within Plymouth, looking at what’s around and actively making choices that change the status quo.

“I would like people, companies, organisations to shop around, ask questions and start making small changes to include a diverse range of people in their opportunities. To think about their ethos and start matching that to the way they employ. “

Amber loves being based in Plymouth – “a rare place where there still is a community that’s not being gentrified. Creative people are aiming for the same things and will help you to get to that place through CiC’s, charities and open networks. 

“I also stay down here because I can’t swim, but I’ve been taking lessons from Ace Swimming (Jason) at Royal William Yard. He’s really enthusiastic about anything water-related and it’s the best place to learn. I did learn to float with a pool noodle, though!”

It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and Amber is quick to acknowledge those who have helped her along the way.

“Real Ideas Organisation helped me when I was 18/19, I was pushed out of my family home and I didn’t finish my sixth-form courses either. They helped me understand what was out there and targeted people from small places which is so important. 

“I went to uni to understand what being a filmmaker is about and to find my own way of making films. It was important to me because I had never been immersed in that many minds, thoughts or opinions before. It opened my eyes to what I wanted and the support I needed. But it was a real sink or swim moment in my life and I needed that push to choose.”

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Lockdown has affected the way in which many of us live and work, and it’s no different for filmmakers.

Amber reflects: “Lockdown made me realise how disposable the Government think my job is. Granted, there was still TV and film but unless you are contracted, freelancing in this industry was stopped.

“I learnt to adapt by taking on new skills so I had a wider range of jobs I could go after, but it was crushing because I felt like I was doing good, and it’s harder to get back to it once you feel like you stopped. 

“It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own world and feel like it’s crashing down on you, but I really took inspiration from my students in lockdown. Seeing the struggles they faced with online learning, having to make films without any equipment etc, it reminded me how much fun what I do is – and that’s what I have to remember whenever the ruts happen.”

So, what’s in store for Amber’s work in the future? “Selfishly, a BAFTA!” she laughs. “But I think that’s everyone’s dream. Right now, it’s to work for myself, doing what I want and also being a mentor to people coming from similar backgrounds. To be able to guide someone and help them with opportunities to shine is really fricken’ rewarding.

“I hope that Plymouth is engaged more in commercial/indie filmmaking. I hope that we as city start to see the potential we have to own our own content and output. I think the city would also benefit from more bike lanes in the centre!”

Lockdown has affected the way in which many of us live and work, and it’s no different for filmmakers.

Amber reflects: “Lockdown made me realise how disposable the Government think my job is. Granted, there was still TV and film but unless you are contracted, freelancing in this industry was stopped.

“I learnt to adapt by taking on new skills so I had a wider range of jobs I could go after, but it was crushing because I felt like I was doing good, and it’s harder to get back to it once you feel like you stopped. 

“It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own world and feel like it’s crashing down on you, but I really took inspiration from my students in lockdown. Seeing the struggles they faced with online learning, having to make films without any equipment etc, it reminded me how much fun what I do is – and that’s what I have to remember whenever the ruts happen.”

So, what’s in store for Amber’s work in the future? “Selfishly, a BAFTA!” she laughs. “But I think that’s everyone’s dream. Right now, it’s to work for myself, doing what I want and also being a mentor to people coming from similar backgrounds. To be able to guide someone and help them with opportunities to shine is really fricken’ rewarding.

“I hope that Plymouth is engaged more in commercial/indie filmmaking. I hope that we as city start to see the potential we have to own our own content and output. I think the city would also benefit from more bike lanes in the centre!”

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