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Ghost Towns

Ghost Towns explores abandoned properties and ghost towns along Highway 13 in Saskatchewan, Canada. The remains of these towns tell important stories, both about the individuals who made their lives in these places, but also about a wider history of immigration and industry.

Being present in an abandoned place is an intimate and ghostly experience. From a shirt on a coat hanger gently swaying in the breeze to a bottle of aspirin on a kitchen counter, abandoned places offer a glimpse of a past that feels tantalisingly close. They hold intimate details of past lives, scrapbooks and photo albums scattered amongst broken glass and rotting furniture. Yet, the abandoned places of Saskatchewan hold a connection to a history that is quietly fading away. Ghost Towns presents the wider story of Saskatchewan through the specific portraits of these abandoned places before they disappear completely.


Semi-finalist Best Short Fest 2017
Will be available on Doc/Player at Sheffield Doc Fest for a limited time.
Will be screened as part of Doc Shorts: Places 2017

  • James Rattee
  • Linda Mason
  • Dotan Cohen
    Music Producer
  • Cathie Brown
    Key Cast
  • Terry Hoknes
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 3 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 14, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    6,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - James Rattee, Linda Mason

Linda Mason is a documentary filmmaker and editor since 2007 obtaining her MA in Documentary Practice at Brunel University in 2014.

Her own short documentary film, 'Out Of Love' was selected for BFI Flare Festival delegate programme and was accepted into ‘I Filmmaker International Film Festival’ and it received a special mention in 2015. It is also part of Faith programme for QueerBee Festival, in 2017/18. She is dedicated to creating films that have a real and lasting impact on people's lives.

Dr James Rattee is a practitioner and researcher in film. His research interests include the representation of memory and materiality in film, and the ways in which film style can produce forms of meaning and understanding. He makes documentaries and short fiction films, as well as corporate and commercial videos.

He currently produces documentaries for the London School of Economics.

Linda and James have been working on projects for several years, from projects with young offenders to other short documentaries, and have recently set up the production company Egg and Spoon Films.

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Director Statement

Ghost Towns is a haunting documentary about abandoned towns of Saskatchewan: offering glimpses of personal and collective histories that are fading from memory. As well as illuminating the history of Saskatchewan, the material has resonance on a wider scale: how we remember and connect to our pasts through the places and objects we leave behind.

We chose to not show any people in the film, but we do hear a series of voices. This was a decision we took to express the sense the absence of the ghost towns and to focus on their material features.

Through the lyrical style of filmmaking, one that expresses the melancholic beauty of these abandoned places, Ghost Towns is a story about Saskatchewan and the way we remember and relate to the past.