David Petlansky

Jeanelle Warren: First I’d like that thank you for taking the time out or this interview. 
David Petlansky: No no, thank you.  I really appreciate you giving a shit enough about whatever it is that I am doing to take the time to do this.
It makes me feel quite important – definitely more important than I should – which is always good fuel to keep going.  So, thank you.
JW: If you would please, tell me a little about yourself. 
DP: My name is David Benjamin Petlansky.  I was born right outside of Philly in August of 1983 where I lived until I was about 9, I believe, when my mother and father got divorced.  My mom met a new dude and we moved to the wonderful city of Jacksonville Florida.  I have a brother who was 4 when we moved and a half-brother who came along about a year after we got to Florida.
Up until that time, I was raised free of religion and from what I remember – it was great.
For some reason, when we got here, my mom decided to bring us to church – and that was my life from 1993 until 2002 when I moved out at the age of 18.  During those years I tried very hard to fit in at church and live by the Bible, which I always found contradictions in, even during my times of strongest belief – I always felt a disconnection – I always felt like I had to fake it – I thought that something was wrong with me.
When I moved out, I stopped going to church off and on but would get pulled back in by fear or simply because it was the only place I knew to turn when things got bad.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to totally let go of every embedded belief in me from religion, every fear and worry.  It feels great. Making movies and music played a big part in that because they allowed me to fully articulate the entire spectrum of an argument I had against or for something with complete control over every aspect.  It is what always drew me to creating – was the ability it had to convey a message.  For me, personally, if there is not an agenda or a message to convey – there is no reason to make something.
I met Jeff Soto around the time I moved out, he has been a constant creative motivator in my life and a partner in a majority of the creative adventures I cherish the most.  We have written many films together and make music that I believe is very underrated and deserves to be heard much much more. I got married to a high school sweet heart about five years ago.  She is a great support in everything I do. It is great to know you are with someone who totally trusts you creatively and is willing to ‘go with it’ whatever ‘it’ may be.
I am an addict and a depressive.  Whatever I am doing, I am either totally disinterested or burying myself into the ground with something I cant get enough of.  I am constantly seeking a high that I cant maintain and until I figure out how to stay not happy, but satisfied, I will probably keep frantically and anxiously searching. With that being said, I am actually happy.  I have learned to live with myself and build a life that accommodates my lifestyle.  I am always hopeful and somewhat naive about the future.
JW: How many features have you made independently?
DP: I’m going to be a dick for a second and pretend like I didn’t know what you meant by the question…
I didn’t make any films independently.  I couldn’t possibly take sole credit for anything you see that is in my resume. So many people have freely given their time and talent with die hard dedication, time and time again.Jeff Soto and I have spent hours upon hours writing and constructing ideas.
Together, we have made – and I am going to list them so I dont lose count – Turn, Mr. Crowstill’s Dream, Everything Means Nothing, Neck Of Da Woodz, Long-Time Sun-Shine, Tomorrow Mourning, Feline, Q, Man-Alive, and Black Matter Tomithy.  So 10 in 10 years, and a whole bunch of shorts and music videos in between.  And ask my wife, I absolutely love each and every single one.
JW: What was your latest project? 
DP: My latest project is one that I would consider the sole-st of all my projects.  I had so much help with it, including my wife and Josh Townsend and Chad Hendricks and bunch of other people.  But from the beginning to the end – it was my vision, which it needed to be for this, because it was very personal.
JW: What’s the film about? 
DP: Black Matter Tomithy is a 90 minute metaphor.  It is a peak inside of mind during an argument with someone trying to save me. All of the conflicts I have with my own beliefs, my self-doubt coupled with the overwhelming amount of external influences, all coming together to create something toxic within me, a beast, if not controlled. On the surface, it is about a man who comes in contact with a strange black matter from outer space. When he touches it, it gets inside of him and begins to turn his world upside down, begging the question – is the world falling apart or is the world just a figment of the main character’s imagination, effected by the black matter.  Ultimately, either way – for the main character – the end result is the same.
Through the story, he engages with multiple colorful characters who offer a hybrid solution for salvation, which does not sit well with the main character because there is no proof accompanied with it. As the story comes to an end, Tomithy’s world grows increasingly more chaotic, leaving him with the most important decision of his life during one of the strangest of times.
JW: What are some of the challenges you ran into while making this feature? 
DP: Honestly, the challenges can be reduced to one very simple answer. Time.
The people I work with are so talented, there is nothing you cant accomplish with enough creativity and talent…
Unless it is time is working against you…and when you are working a full time job along with everyone else in the cast, trying to juggle a schedule for a full length film around the schedules of everyone in it is almost impossible, especially on the tight deadline I placed on us for no real reason at all.
JW: How was the premiere? 
DP: I could not have asked for anything more from the premiere.  It was the perfect reward for all the hard work.  That is all I ask for when I am done with something is the opportunity to sit down in a room full of friends and strangers and let it be judged.  I don’t care if they love it or hate it – as long as they absorb it and give it an honest chance.  My expectations were exceeded for the premiere of Black Matter Tomithy. Tim at Sun-Ray was so great in letting us use the theater. We nearly filled it up. There was laughter and silence in all the right moments.  The applause at the end was bitter-sweet. Talking to people afterwards, it was so rewarding to hear that they not only enjoyed it, but got the deeper meaning behind it and were so engaged with it.  It was perfect.
JW: Are there any more features that you will be gracing us with anytime soon? 
DP: I do not have anything specific lined up.  There are always a thousand ideas in the mental vault – when the right one comes around, it just happens and it works out.  I am taking a planned break for a while to move to St. Louis, where my writing partner lives – Jeff Soto. We have a lot of ideas in the works, including an alternative news style podcast with SuicidalPlanet.com, some new music with our band The Untitled as well an idea for a new music project.  We also have a few ideas for Internet shows, short films and a few full length scripts.
Besides the podcast, we are not sure which project we are going to land on first.  For me, personally – the next feature I plan to shoot on my own will be unscripted.  I have been wanting to do an intimate style documentary that sheds light on a broader issue concerning social injustice.  Not sure of the details yet, but something along those lines. You can keep up with anything I am doing at TOTR.us – which is also an alternative news blog.
Thanks again Jeanelle!

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