Alumnus Adam Janeira’s Movie Company is Scoring Big on the Film Festival Circuit

Friday, December 20, 2019
Nicole Wyland looks at "The Automaton."

Nicole Wyland stars as Margaret in Adam Janeira's award-winning short, "The Automaton."

Movie producer Adam Janeira was checking out the rustic barn, aging farmhouse and flowing blond grass at Big Sky movie ranch north of Hollywood when a local ranch hand asked: “Where’s your snake wrangler?”

“My what?” answered a puzzled Janeira.

“It’s mating season. This place is crawling with them.”

About then, a gunshot rang out. When the smoke cleared, another ranch hand was tossing a dead snake into the brush. Avoid tall grass, Janeira and his Midwestern crew were advised. It’s an hour by helicopter to the nearest poison control center. The bottom line was pretty clear, Janeira says: “Don’t get bit.”

Fortunately, no one was, and Janeira’s movie, “The Automaton,” was completed on schedule in just under three days. The 22-minute short is now making the film festival circuit and racking up awards, including Best Short Film at the Twin Cities Film Fest and Best Narrative Short at the Denver Underground Film Festival.

Set in the late 19th century in the American northwest, “The Automaton” is the story of a young widow whose brilliant late husband leaves her a thinking, speaking robot in the barn of his South Dakota farm. The robot, masterfully portrayed using the technology available in the 1890s, develops a mother-son relationship with the widow, bringing some happiness into her otherwise joyless life. Sadly, a nosy neighbor takes it on herself to get involved, bringing about a classic clash between technology and tradition.

“This was a fun story to tell,” Janeira, a 2014 mechanical engineering alumnus told students who watched a screening of the film at Rose-Hulman in December. “It really spoke to me.”

“The Automaton” is just the most recent release by Janeira’s company, I’m The Villain Films, LLC, an Indianapolis-based marketing/production company he founded a year after graduating from Rose. The company creates commercials, corporate videos, voiceovers, logos, and other marketing material.

But Janeira’s true love is making movies.

“Commercials are where you make money. Short film is where you go to spend it,” he says.
Janeira was visiting Rose-Hulman as part of the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Art’s speaker series, which highlights the wide variety of careers available to institute graduates. He said Rose gave him skills that can be applied to the film industry or virtually any other career.

“This is just one industry where you can be an engineer without having the title, engineer,” he told students at the screening.

Asked if he regrets spending four grueling years at a STEM college instead of film school, Janeira said he has no doubt a Rose education was the right choice for him.

“What Rose teaches you so well is how to solve problems. In the movie industry, you get to approach problems every day. That’s what drew me to film.”

Besides, he adds, “It’s hard to have regrets when you wind up in a place where you’re happy.”

“The Automaton” film trailer: