City of Ember is a 2008 an American science fiction fantasy film based on the 2003 novel The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. It was directed by Gil Kenan from a screenplay by Caroline Thompson, and stars Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Bill Murray, Mackenzie Crook, Martin Landau, Mary Kay Place, Toby Jones and Tim Robbins. In the midst of an unspecified catastrophe which is destroying human civilization and polluting the environment, an underground city is constructed to shelter a large group of survivors. The "Builders" of the underground "City of Ember" place secret instructions to future generations in a small box timed to open in exactly 200 years after the event. The City of Ember is built into a vast and gigantic underground cavern and is filled with conventionally sized 3 to 4-story buildings and houses.