Alexander Janko '83 LS will see his directorial debut roll out to movie theaters from coast to coast when it opens in New York on Friday, September 8.
Janko wrote, directed, and scored Year by the Sea, based on the New York Times best-selling memoir by Joan Anderson. The story recounts the transformative period in Anderson's life when, as an empty nester in a stagnant marriage, she decided to retreat to the family cottage in Cape Cod rather than follow her husband across the country to his new job. The film stars Karen Allen, Yannick Bisson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Michael Christopher, and Celia Imrie.
Janko started his career in Hollywood as a composer and orchestrator, most notably writing the score for My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He was looking for his first project as an independent filmmaker when a mildewy, jacketless copy of Anderson's memoir appeared on his kitchen counter. His then-wife, Cressey Belden Janko '87, had picked it up at the local transfer station. (She would go on to be an executive producer on the film.)
"I opened it up and three hours later I was convinced that I needed to make a movie, not for myself necessarily, but for all women, all the daughters of those women, all the granddaughters of those women," said Janko, the brother of Lower School religion teacher Ibi Janko Murphy '83 and Julia Janko Wong '82.
Year by the Sea, filmed on location in Cape Cod, took seven years to come to fruition, financed in part by a robust Kickstarter campaign. After racking up more than a dozen awards on the festival circuit, it enjoyed a limited run in Florida in February 2017. Now, it's rolling out across the country over the next couple of months, reaching the Osio in Monterey on September 29. Find out when it comes to your town.
"We are thrilled that our little film has found its way into a nationwide release," Cressey Janko said on behalf of the team. "The message, that it's never too late to reclaim your life, is one that we are honored to share with the world. From the feedback we have received thus far, we believe in the universality of our story, and we're delighted our audiences do, too!"
Read our full profile of Janko in the Spring 2017 issue of the Santa Catalina Bulletin.
(Photo courtesy of Year by the Sea)