Private Project

THIS IS TIM: A Musical Life

His name wasn’t the one on the album cover. On the street, he was just a regular guy. But on stage, Tim Ellis became a rip-roaring guitar god who rocked the center of the music universe in Portland, Oregon for over three decades.

THIS IS TIM: A MUSICAL LIFE traces the artistic journey of Oregon Music Hall of Fame guitarist Tim Ellis and his choices when faced with every artist’s dilemma: a life on the road, on stage and in the spotlight; or a life at home, raising a young and growing family.

Through rare archival television footage, intimate home movies, and interviews with the musicians he inspired—including Grammy-winning songwriter Sam Martin, Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini, and Everclear frontman Art Alexakis—THIS IS TIM provides an intimate portrait of man who tried to have it all and the lives he changed along the way.

  • Tiffany Ellis
  • Tiffany Ellis
    Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula (production manager)
  • Scott Ballard
    Director of Photography
    Death on a Rock, A Standing Still
  • Beth Segal
    Burlesque: Art of the Glitter Tribe, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Music, Biography
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    125,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Tiffany Ellis

Tiffany Ellis is a documentary filmmaker with interests in music, dance and culture around the world. Her projects have taken her backstage at Lincoln Center with modern dance legend Paul Taylor, to skate parks in the heart of Zulu land in South Africa, and across the wheatbelt of Western Australia collaborating with aboriginal elders recording the oral history of their land. She produced over 125 short modern dance documentaries for the American Dance Festival and supervised post production on award-winning PBS documentary Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula. THIS IS TIM: A Musical Life, marks her feature directorial debut.

She holds an MS in Visual Anthropology from Oxford University and a BA in Film Production and History from Occidental College. She is based in Portland, Oregon.

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Director Statement

THIS IS TIM: A Musical Life, is an intimate portrait of my father and the legacy he left behind after an aggressive and heartwrenching fight with cancer. He was a musical legend to many in the music industry in Portland, Oregon and his achievements were recently recognized with his posthumous induction into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

This film explores his creative achievements but also seeks to understand why and how he worked as hard as he did, supporting six children and a wife on a musician's income--no easy feat. I trace his early start in Los Angeles and his journey to Portland with his young family in the early 1980s to create a new life and record his own music. Personal insights, interviews with prominent musicians who worked with and were inspired by him, rare home videos, an extensive archive of performance footage and an entire catalog of the mid-nineties public access TV show he hosted will illustrate the unwavering strength of a man not only committed to his craft but to his family and his broader community.