Bruce David Janu

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Bruce David Janu (born July 12, 1968) is an educator and low budget indie filmmaker. Currently he teaches Social Studies at Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. When he is not teaching, Janu is making educational materials and films. In 2000, he created an educational supply company called Bell, Book & Camera Productions. Through his company, he wrote several educational books, including Bring Out Your Dead: Recreating the Black Death in the Classroom, Mouldering in the Grave: A Dramatic Approach to Teaching About John Brown and The Constitution: A Cooperative Learning Approach. He has also written several articles for Illinois History Teacher.


Janu began creating educational films for particular topics to be used in his classrooms. The films have covered a wide variety of subjects, including immigration, freedom, millennium fears and gothic cathedrals. Usually, the short films involve Janu dressing in strange costumes and talking with people on the streets of Chicago.

As a result of his educational video work, Janu moved Bell, Book & Camera Productions into the wedding videography field in 2001.

In 2005, he began work on his first feature-length film: a documentary entitled Facing Sudan. Janu got the idea for the film after meeting a young janitor at Hersey High School who had been to South Sudan. Brian Burns told him stories about children dying in his arms and villagers running for cover at the sound of a distant plane. When Janu decided to document Burns' story for another classroom video, he began meeting other people like Burns and soon the short, classroom video Janu had planned turned into a feature-length documentary.

Facing Sudan was completed in early 2007. It traveled the film festival circuit that year and garnered two Best Documentary Awards. The film features a soundtrack composed by Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke (singer).

In 2008, Janu completed a follow-up to Facing Sudan entitled Crayons and Paper. This film tells the story of Dr. Jerry Ehrlich, a pediatrician who has traveled to war-torn areas, giving his young patients crayons and paper to document their lives. The 30-minute film features drawings from children in Sri Lanka and Darfur.

In addition to his documentary and educational works, Janu occasionally produces corporate video and has even directed two music videos. He is completing his first novel,Lilac Wine, and hosts an internet radio station entitled The Vinyl Voyage.

Frank Sinatra Detention Club[edit]

When Janu started teaching in the early 1990s, he gained short-lived notoriety for creating the "Frank Sinatra Detention Club." An avid Sinatra fan, Janu decided to use Sinatra's music as a form of punishment for his students. The punishment involved a half hour after school of loud music with Janu singing along. In addition, Janu routinely places Sinatra extra credit questions on tests and even has Frank Sinatra homework tokens. [1][2]

After a story appeared about the detention club on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times, it was picked up on the newswires and the story started appearing in newspapers across the country. In addition, stories appeared in Time Magazine, USA Today, and Life Magazine. In December, 1992, Esquire Magazine awarded Janu with a "Dubious Achievement Award."

Personal life[edit]

He lives in Cary, Illinois, with his wife, Cheryl and sons, Brennan and Quinn.


External links[edit]