Imagine this: the product that your business is based upon becomes obsolete. You can see the value dropping over a period, but can do nothing to stop it. Imagine, too, that you and your competitors are so passionate about making that product that you decide to stay in the game and fight in a market that is oversaturated and under capitalised. This is the predicament Just Passing Through examines.
Strictly speaking, Just Passing Through is a film about music, but there’s not an instrument in sight. Melbourne writer, musician and filmmaker, Thomas Hyland, and cinematographer/producer, Sean Fennessy, have told a story about the demise of the Australian music industry, through interviews with three of Australia’s most successful musicians, Sarah Blasko, Paul Dempsey (Something For Kate) and Gareth Liddiard (The Drones).
Running for a little more than 20 minutes, it’s a transient and well-composed piece of cinema, photographed in black and white by Fennessy, who captures the sense of loss and displacement felt by struggling musicians all over the country.
And while there’s certainly an air of frustration with each interviewee, there’s also a tangible sense that a life in music, with busy touring schedules, long hours and deadlines, is a blessed one. In confronting issues like artistic integrity, criticism, and life on the road, Just Passing Through was conceived as an educational tool, but ended up as something else entirely.
It’s the first major film work for both Fennessy and Hyland, who’ve applied subtleties from their previous and respective roles in journalism and photography. Hyland is a musician himself, with Tasmanian band, Ivy Street, and made the film to uncover one central truth: that behind every dream job is a real one.
You can view the trailer for Just Passing Through here.