past weekend saw Detroit's Hastings Street Ballroom transformed
into the set of "The Passenger," a feature length film
written and directed by Jamie Sonderman. The Passenger is a story
about how even the smallest choices can change everything. It explores
the possible outcomes of seemingly insignificant interactions. The
story follows John, played by Edward Zeimis, who finds himself at
a crossroads between being deeper embedded into his life as a suburban
corporate slave or choosing another path to discover the enticements
of the Detroit underground art scene.
Shot entirely in Detroit, the movie carries with it
the team's optimism for the city. According to Sonderman, "For
us it was partly about Detroit. We wanted to say something about
the city. We wanted to create at place where Detroit was the coolest
city in the world, as if it was a done deal." This is accomplished
by portraying the city as a character that stands in opposition
to the safety and complacency of the affluent suburbs.
The desire to create a positive image of Detroit is
a driving force for the film's production team, Thought Collide.
Art is a form of communication and the group hopes to utilize the
mass medium of film to increase the visibility of art and music
in Detroit. The artistic integrity of the cast and crew extends
beyond a simple visual unearthing of the Detroit's underground.
The group aspires towards national recognition at next years Sundance
Film Festival. Executive producer, Ed Gardiner, explained, "We
created a context for the film called Living for Sundance. The idea
is: if we all knew we had a year to live and this film was to be
our legacy, how would we wake up every morning? Our hope is that
context of Living for Sundance will truly shape the film."
In talking with cast and crew it is apparent that
the true sentiment of the group is actually "Living for Detroit".
The conversations on the set are an inspiring enthusiasm for the
film, tempered with a love of Detroit. On the set, conversations
about scene framing and lighting collide easily with discussions
of music, art, and the city. It is clear that on the set of The
Passenger, everyone has embraced the vision of Detroit as the greatest
city in the world.
(Look for further updates on the progress of this
film in these pages.)
Information about Thought Collide and The Passenger
can be found at their site www.thoughtcollide.com.
For Jamie Sonderman's responses to thedetroiter.com's
famous Four Questions, click here.