Honorable Mention – “Passenger” (USA)

Title: Passenger
Runtime: 9 min
Country: USA 
Director: Patrick Payne + Dana Beasley
Placement: Honorable Mention
Competition: June, 2021

Synopsis: “Passenger” features the stories of Patrick Payne, a shuttle driver who finds whimsy and serendipity in his encounters on the road. Archival and original imagery accompany Payne’s narration of “the drive,” represented through childhood reflections and contemporary interactions with passengers.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Patrick Payne + Dana Beasley – Director, Cinematographer, Editor

OR: What was the inspiration for your film?

PP: Dana and I met at a “Shut up and write” meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona. She was a journalism grad student at NAU and I was driving for Arizona Shuttle out of Flagstaff to Phoenix, Sedona and the Grand Canyon. 

She asked if I would collaborate with her on her Masters Degree film project and I couldn’t say yes quick enough. I reflect often on our partnership. The kid and the old man.

I likened my short stories to the marbles that Ensign Pulver, Jack Lemmon’s character in MR. ROBERTS had been collecting with big plans that of course weren’t going to happen. In fact as we worked on this film Dana would say “I need a marble” for one of my stories.

OR: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

PP: The idea was conceived by Dana. I just stumbled into her path for which I am forever grateful.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

PP: My blissful ignorance protected me from any challenge. I was that proverbial happy clam, engaged in a most happy time of my life. Driving, almost a vocation, and interacting with people of such diversity from all over the world. If there was a challenge I was loving it .

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

PP: Need to check with Dana on this one. She put it all together. And most beautifully. As impressed as I remain with her melding of the music to the scenes, I am astounded with her capture of those roads I drove. For example the opening scene, leaving Phoenix just north of Anthem, Arizona. I drove that stretch for three years and never did I have a total absence of traffic in front of me while the southbound lanes, visible over the driver’s left shoulder were so crowded. When asked about that she simply grins and offers a shoulder shrug.

OR: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

PP: To the writers, yes.

Stumble into a Dana Beasley.