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Remembering Mike Janik

Mike Janik ('76) loved Carleton, and at Carleton he learned to love film. He rarely missed the many eclectic and thought-provoking movies and visiting filmmakers arranged by Prof. Frank Daniel, who was starting a new film program at Carleton in exile from his native Czechoslovakia, where he'd headed the path-breaking national film studio.

Mike's love of film sustained him throughout his short life. His tastes were eclectic, from Tarkovsky to Eastwood, "Battleship Potemkin" to "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." He was forever dragging friends and colleagues to the latest, often obscure, art house flick. When disabled by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), one of the few remaining experiences Mike could share with friends was watching movies. Imprisoned by his body, unable to move or to communicate, he still managed to provoke thought and mirth by finding and screening new films he had discovered online by using a specially programmed computer that captured the slight movement of his wrist.

Upon his diagnosis in early 1998, Mike conceived of a film colloquium at Carleton that would capture the magic he had experienced as a student on campus, and later, at film festivals. He hoped to bring to campus experts eager to engage the community in passionate dialogue. He wanted it to be appealing to all students, and most of all, fun, in an "Attack of the Crab Monsters" sort of way.

- Meg Roggensack