IMDB Link: After So Many Days (2019)
Directors: Jim Hanft, Samantha Yonack
Writers: Natalia Anderson, Jim Hanft, Kyle Weber, Samantha Yonack
Stars: Jim Hanft, Samantha Yonack
Synopsis: A raw personal account of what happens when a recently married singer-songwriter duo attempts to play one show every day for a year.
I had never heard of Jim and Sam when I started this documentary, and I sadly don’t think many people will have. This is a really smart way of promotion, which is a fun documentary not only about their music and their lives, but the concept of performing a gig every single day for a year and how rough it can be, especially when not a major musician.
After watching this, it is hard to not fall in love with both Jim and Sam. Not only are they fantastic musicians and lovely people, their work ethic shows their full potential. These are hard-working people who do everything they can to make their career work. It isn’t just about the fact that they are touring every single day – sometimes in the most unglamourous of places like a corner shop or to a flock of animals. It is the extra work they do, from renting their location to make money on the side or Jim balancing a second job throughout this journey.
If there is any documentary subject that warrants a feature-length runtime, it may be this one. A common issue I have had with documentaries that I have watched as of recently is that they focus on a small time-frame and they could be presented in a shorter amount of time. After So Many Days focuses on an entire year, and all the bumps in the road they encounter during the year. This is a story unlike any other that earns that runtime, and they use it effectively.
This film doesn’t just focus on the tour and the ups and downs of booking gigs. It also has a look at the music industry and the pitfalls of it. From the concerts that get cancelled last minute, the hunt for a record company to sign up with, the constant travelling from country to country. It is a lot of hard work to make it work in the music industry, and watching Jim and Sam try to make it work makes me appreciate these musicians more than I did before.
I do wish that the film slowed down at the end and let the audience soak in the end of the year long tour. It does feel like because at the end there were fewer obstacles to go through, that there is less focus on it. I loved one of the sequences where they highlight that one of the first dates was in the same location as one of the final dates, this was a nice touch to add in the documentary. I just wish we had that feeling of celebration to be even stronger, or to see their growth from taking this tour.
This is easily the best film that I have seen at the 2020 Raindance Film Festival, documentary or fiction. This is beautifully crafted, filled with passion and so well told. I was fascinated by the premise when I was reading up on the submitted films for the festival, and I am so glad I found time to sit down and click play in the schedule. If you get a chance to check this one out, I would highly recommend it.