Alumnus Adam Janeira is Making Movie Magic

Thursday, September 16, 2021
Image of Adam Janeira.

Mechanical engineering alumnus Adam Janeira has mixed interests in filmmaking and engineering into producing award-winning short films. His I’m the Villain Films company also creates television commercials and corporate and commercial videos.

The need for commercial video and film got so sporadic during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic that 2014 mechanical engineering alumnus Adam Janeira thought he might have to go back to work as an engineer.

Not that he minds engineering. In fact, Janeira says he still uses his engineering skills every day to solve problems. It’s just that those problems are now in the film business.

Janeira owns I’m the Villain Films, an Indianapolis-based company he started after his Rose-Hulman graduation to make television commercials, corporate and commercial videos, and short films. Business was booming until COVID-19 brought nearly everything to a halt.

“There just wasn’t anything coming in. We were just sort of surviving,” he says.

Then, fortunately, around March 1 of this year, video projects resumed.

“Now, it’s like drinking from a fire hose,” he says. “I think I had three days off in March. It’s a good problem to have.”

In addition to getting married in October 2020, Janeira didn’t let the slowdown go to waste. He used the time to reevaluate his goals as a filmmaker and take on some new projects, including faith-based videos and films.

“The fun part was, during that down time, rethinking what’s important,” he says.

Projects reflecting his company’s new direction toward more content creation have included a six-part Bible study series titled “Better Together,” commissioned by a suburban Indianapolis church. Another project is a faith-based grief-sharing documentary being directed by Janeira’s wife, Kelsey. And, a third project is a feature-length film, currently untitled, which is in the pre-production phase.

However, Janeira has no plans to abandon commercial and film work, where he has made an impressive name for himself. He was executive producer for a 22-minute film, “The Automaton,” that was named 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 upon herself to get involved, bringing about a classic clash between technology and tradition.

“This was a fun story to tell. It really spoke to me,” says Janeira, who screened the film during an appearance at Rose-Hulman in December 2019 as part of the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts’ visiting speaker series.  

Janeira says 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 during his visit.

While short films have been featured at film festivals, earned awards and gained coveted distribution contracts, that’s one area of his business he seems prepared to leave behind. Feature-length films are far more marketable, he says.

Janeira is currently co-writing a feature-length film and has plans for more in the future.

Before launching I’m the Villain Films, Janeira worked as an engineer and credits his Rose-Hulman education with giving him the tools he needs to solve the problems that surface in filmmaking. He also credits his time at Rose-Hulman with deepening the Christian faith that is now guiding his business. In fact, he read the Bible for the first time while a student on campus.

“It took me about three years, but I finished the Bible while at Rose,” he says.

So, as usual, the next steps for Janeira and his business are hard to predict, just like watching one of his films. One of the secrets to his success seems to be a willingness to follow his inspiration wherever it takes him. And, while business sputtered a little during the past year, that slowdown provided time for new inspiration from a settled personal life.

“It’s hard to have regrets when you wind up in a place where you’re happy,” he says. “The pandemic certainly helped to push us to rethink the way that we are doing business. I don’t know where that’s going to lead us necessarily, but I’m pretty confident it’s going to lead to someplace cool.”

Watch I’m the Villain Films’ “The Automaton” trailer at