Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Detroit on screen (The Passenger) Previous Next
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Realitycheck
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Username: Realitycheck

Post Number: 301
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 68.41.173.240
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 11:42 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When y'all get a chance to watch this locally made feature film, see it! It'll be screened at a Campus Martius arts festival in June, the filmmakers said last night after a showing to about 4 dozen folks at Birmingham's library.

It's a truly amazing example of Detroit talent in front of + behind the digital video camera, as well as an example of the cinematic exterior and interior locations available here.

Jamie Sonderman, the uber-talented director + co-screenwriter (with cinematographer Mike Zawacki, said they pulled of the two-hour narrative for just $2,000. But as the hundreds of folks who saw an April 4 screening in Royal Oak can attest, it looks a lot more like an indie studio film than an example of no-budget, student-style guerrilla videography. No lie.

The story: John is an artist trapped in an ad agency job. One night he ventures into Detroit's underground art scene, where he is seduced by an alternate paradigm of living.

The screenplay is provocative, poignant, creative and occasionally humorous. ("I don't get smoking. Why not pout nicotine in yogurt or candy bars instead?")

Characters + dialogue generally seem honest and believable . . . realistic voices from genuine people, not line readings.

One getting-acquainted scene nails the emotional awkwardness and throbbing promise of first-date small talk. I flashed back immediately to that type of verbal dancing. There are more vivid + visually stunning scenes, including a coked-out or tripped-out party, but that's among those that succeed magnificently.

I'll stretch a bit here and say that in a sense, The Passenger is a Detroit version of Desperately Seeking Susan -- minus the budget and stars, which further elevates the achievement. (There's no mystery disappearance, but a similarly liberating journey of self-discovery. (This flick's director was 13 when Susan Seidelman's film came out, so I'm sure not suggesting he chaneled it -- just that he evokes the same universal questions + recognition that she did.

The locations: The Guardian Building, Agave, Vicente's, Compuware, John King Books, Hastings Street Ballroom (80% of interior shots), Fisher Building, Woodward, Fort Street, Jefferson. Shot entrirely in Detroit last year in just 2 weeks of long days, nights and weekends.

The soundtrack: Released 2 weks ago on CD, featuring Mary Abraham (Power pop), Chiasm (Heavy electronic), Ben Cyllus (Acoustic rock), Flipping the Pig (Introspective rock), Helvet1ca (Indie rock), Ickytrip (Ambient electronic), Audra Kubat (Folk, singer-songwriter), Michael Miller (Acoustic rock) and Trip Tone Theory (Dreamy trip hop).

"I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use Detroit artists for the soundtrack," says Jamie, the director, in a release I found online. "I love Detroit - its filled with talented people who are hungry to contribute. I chose a variety of artists to reflect the different choices made by the main charactern. The music is like a character in itself."

As for me, I'm blown away by the under-appeciated and under-recognized homegrown talent on screen and in the productiion credits. Jamie, Mike, producer + their team reminding us why we can be proud of Detroit and -- most importantly -- they show others why Detroit is "like no place else right now . . . it's a city between breaths . . . [that will be] more amazing than you or I can imagine," as local artist Rachel Snyder says in a stirring scene.

After the screening, Jamie said: "People are so hungry in Detroit, they're unstoppable."

This same team + some of their actors now are working on InZer0, a sci-fi series they'll pitch to TV. They showed a slick trailer in B'ham and will have a debut showing of Episode 1 next Tuesday (May 2) at 7 p.m. in the Royal Oak Main Art theater. Tickets "almost sold out" at $10 each. Info at www.thoughtcollide.com

These filmmakers also are at http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=19972347.

Model D has a typically fine writeup (by our forum member Frank Nemecek) at http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/detroitfilm.aspx

And here is the director/screenwriter who's off to a very promising start: x

(Message edited by RealityCheck on April 27, 2006)
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Realitycheck
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Username: Realitycheck

Post Number: 303
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 68.41.173.240
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 11:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Just 1 more image and now I really am done, honest:
x
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Fnemecek
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Username: Fnemecek

Post Number: 1606
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 70.225.118.224
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 12:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Realitycheck:
Don't forget the most important aspect of "The Passenger".

The sound and lighting of it.

It's what made the whole dang movie. ;-)
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Realitycheck
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Username: Realitycheck

Post Number: 305
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 68.41.173.240
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 6:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Doh, whatever was I thinking?

Must've been I was so smitten by Rachel Bergman, Kimberly Schmitz, Mare Costello, Yolanda Jack + Maureen Bierman that I overlooked Frank's skilled technical contributions to Jamie + Mike's evocatively lit narrative with a soundtrack so crisp that viewers reflexively reached for their phones whenever a cell rang on screen. (True, actually.)

Better, F.N.? Praise-atcha.

Actually, big ups are earned all around. It's a dazzling debut, no lie.

And while we're chatting again, here's part of a gracious note I got from Lee Runchey, the production's PR guy:

quote:

[These comments] reinforce what we are trying to do. We don't want to go to Hollywood. We want to stay in Detroit and build this budding film industry one scene at a time.


A talented team worth watching, clearly.
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Tomoh
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Username: Tomoh

Post Number: 168
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 24.148.60.142
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 4:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This looks really good. I wish I could go see it.
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Fnemecek
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Username: Fnemecek

Post Number: 1607
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 69.212.57.65
Posted on Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 12:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Doh, whatever was I thinking?

Must've been I was so smitten by Rachel Bergman, Kimberly Schmitz, Mare Costello, Yolanda Jack + Maureen Bierman that I overlooked Frank's skilled technical contributions to Jamie + Mike's evocatively lit narrative with a soundtrack so crisp that viewers reflexively reached for their phones whenever a cell rang on screen. (True, actually.)

Better, F.N.? Praise-atcha.



LMAO!!! Thanks, Realitycheck. I just back from another shoot in Lansing (a training video this time) and I appreciate everything you said.

FYI: Mare Costello (and a few of the others) are returning for our next project - a sci-fi series called InZer0. We're screening the first episode of it this Tuesday at the Main Art in Royal Oak and it's already sold out.

You can see a trailer for InZer0, and a bunch of other details about it, at http://www.myspace.com/inzero

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