Victor Janusz

Popular Seattle-based Singer-Pianist has worked regularly at Saltys On Alki (15 Years, Resident "Weekend BrunchPianist")  Columbia Tower Club, Canlis (Seven New Years Eve Galas), Aqua/El Gaucho, the Fairmont, "First ThursdayPianist" at Washington Athletic Club since 2015, and a 20-week Engagement of Fridays at "Torchy's"/WAC (2021).

Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?

"STILL I REACH FOR YOU" is a mini-feature film out of Seattle Washington (USA) filmed exclusively in the Seattle/King County region ‚Äčand is an autobiographical reflection on "A Life In the Day of An AIDS Widow". Filmmaker Victor Janusz writes and directs the story-- from his own life, about the suicide of his life partner (AIDS-related) in 1993. The film depicts how 25 years later (in 2018) he is still coming to terms about survival--and accepting the scar he must learn to live with.

What are your ambitions with your project?
For audiences -internationally-- to acknowledge and identify the demographic of the "surviving AIDS partner"-- decades later, --and to consider the consequences of the AIDS epidemic that continue today. Furthermore, to recognize the fallout and repetition of human behavior-- especially with the world-wide COVID experience and its lingering. I would like to see how the quality of the film rates, in order to attract co-producers (and investors) for my full-length (2-hour) feature screenplay I intend to shoot in 2024 in Washington State.

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Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
Since it was shot March 2022--August 2022, out Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA Micro-Producing contract) carried COVID restrictions & rules. Half the film was shot outside which helped, although I was surprised by the number of "paid extras" who did NOT show up! In a sense, the dreamy, Twilight Zone feel I wanted for the 2018 Scenes was achieved by an "empty" ghost-town quality of exteriors during COVID!

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For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
Film lovers, LGBQTIA+ audiences who feel under-represented, artists and audiences craving generative, authentic organic stories being told -- from the "independent" arena. Films, theatre, even live performances that are liberated from commercial, institutional pressures and dominance. The film targets Producers seeking "new voices" making movies in unconventional, unexpected ways.

Why should distributors buy your film?
Because it is a unique story (that has not been told, or rarely told) and it is told in a unique style.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
Unconventionally structured, professional-quality technical aspects all around. 
Many artistic disciplines are given prominent value: The musical soundtrack --all original tunes by the filmmaker's Seattle band-- advances the narrative as much as the script, which is told with an economy of words; A highly experienced, professional film/theatre cast that could bring gravitas to the demanding drama; Likewise, "the crisp cinematography and judicious editing" (Athens International Monthly) contribute to the film's overall smooth esthetics.

Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
As a stage and music video director, I knew I would eventually return to filmmaking (which I excelled in my college years at Pitzer/Pomona in California. Later in NYC I appeared in many independent films. I find my propensity to writing/directing AS A FILMMAKER is the most natural for me. It inspires my most driven energy, creatively. The economics of digital filmmaking make it all the more possible.

Who is your role model?
I'm not entirely comfortable with that term, as I feel I am creating my own original model, or brand. 
I would say I am influenced and inspired by the works of John Cassavetes, Robert Altman, Mike Nichols and Lynn Shelton.

Which movies are your favorites? Why?
I enjoy the sophistication of all of Hitchcock, the singularity of vision in Spike Lee, and the witty, scriptural eloquence of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" "All About Eve" "Birdman" to name a few...

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
From my diary, dreams, nightmares, actual occurrences that earthquake my existence, change my life. 
My last two films, the Holiday-short "C3Q (See Three Queens)" and my current feature "Still I Reach For You" are based on real occurrences that were significant, relevant life-changers for me.

Which topics interest you the most?
Miscommunication, human character flaws --and gifts- that color and reveal

our collective humanity. Sexual identity issues, the never-ending characteristics and definitions of human love and compassion.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
My most recent film "Still I Reach For You"

What do you consider most important about filming?
Knowing when to start, knowing when it's finished (Editing). Initially, the script is most important:

Without that being a superior piece of work --nothing else is possible. Whether I'm composing a song, writing --or filming-- a story, I get a feeling that's very much like the last "click" of a Rubic's cube: You KNOW you are done, everything has fallen into its own "perfect place". No other feeling like it!

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best? )
Two camera-shot, loose/informal, keeping the set natural and not too cluttered with technical apparatus.

How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
Not too "judgy" about others' works. 
I will say the atmosphere and filmscape today reflects so many kinds of storytelling --and reflects (far more) diversity than in previous decades, eras. I like the humanity of that.

What can disappoint you in a movie?
Reliance on cliche, stereotype, inauthentic storytelling: When an overall effort lacks the "ring of truth."

Who supports you in your film career?
My producing team, members of my family. Mainly I am inspired most by the writers, actors and musicians I have worked alongside
and known for the last 2-3 decades!

What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
Testimonial card is attached. The AIM Athens International Monthly Review is posted on FF page. I am surprised and delighted by the sheer number of people who tell me that "Still I Reach For You" affects them far deeper than they expected. "It packs a punch way more than most movies!" is something I am hearing more than anything else.

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
Not yet. Marina del Rey Festival in West Los Angeles (June 8--14, 2023) is coming up!

What are your future plans in filmmaking career?
I have completed my first draft of "Last Dance, Amelia" a full-length 2-hour film with 25 characters!
I look to begin filming in 2024.

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