Janet Grillo is an Emmy Award winning producer, an Award winning writer and director, and a former Studio Executive.
In 2007, Janet was Executive Producer of the esteemed documentary AUTISM: THE MUSICAL, with Bunim Murray Productions, which premiered on HBO in March, 2008. It is distributed by New Video. AUTISM: THE MUSICAL received the coveted audience awards at Newport, Palm Springs and Mill Valley Film Festivals, and premiered to uniformly excellent reviews at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was short listed for an Academy Award Nomination. It won two Emmy Awards in 2008, including Outstanding Non Fiction Special (i.e.; Best Documentary).
A filmmaker in her own right, Janet wrote and directed two short films; AT THE BEACH, starring Lucinda Jenney, and FLYING LESSONS, starring Dana Delany (DESERATE HOUSEWIVES, CASTLE, CHINA BEACH). FLYING LESSONS premiered at Palm Springs International Film Festival in August of 2008, to good reviews. It was programmed by many prestigious festivals here and abroad, including the ATLANTA, LA SHORT, RHODE ISLAND and SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS. It won the Silver Lei Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the HONOLULU INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, the Best Dramatic Short at FIRST LOOK FESTIVAL, LA and Best Performance at WILDsound SHORT FILM FESTIVAL in Toronto, Canada. Her feature script, FLY AWAY, won the Dylan Thomas Award for Best International Screenplay from the 2010 Swansea Bay Film Festival in Wales.
Previously, Janet worked at New Line Cinema for ten years, rising through the ranks to become the Senior Vice President of Production, East Coast. During this time she established an outstanding track record initiating the careers of many emerging filmmakers, including Reggie Hudlin, for whom she developed his feature debut, HOUSE PARTY. The film received the coveted Audience Award at Sundance, and went on to become a cult classic, grossing $25 million in North American theatrical revenues on a budget of $1.5 million. Janet then executive produced its two financially successful sequels.
At New Line, Janet developed and executive produced Joseph B. Vasquez’s acclaimed feature HANGIN’ WITH THE HOMEBOYS, starring John Leguizamo. It received the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance. She then went on to develop and associate produce PUMP UP THE VOLUME, starring Christian Slater, as well as Ted Demme’s directorial debut, WHO’S THE MAN. The same year, she also managed to develop and executive produce David O. Russell’s acclaimed feature debut, SPANKING THE MONKEY. It won the Sundance Audience Award and launched his prestigious career.
After a decade at New Line, Janet left to produce independently. Since then she executive produced the critically acclaimed independent feature, JOE THE KING, which won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Along with Ruth Charny (GRACE OF MY HEART and SEARCH AND DESTROY), Janet produced SEARCHING FOR PARADISE, which was developed by the Sundance Institute, and distributed on the Sundance Channel.
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, with an Honors in Theatre, Janet also trained at William Esper Acting Studio in New York City. While completing her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, she served as Assistant Literary Manager for Circle Repertory Company, where she was also a member of their Playwright’s Workshop Lab. In addition, Janet was a finalist for the prestigious AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE WOMEN’S WORKSHOP IN DIRECTING, 2008. Her feature screenplay, 2B, was a finalist for the Sundance Screenwriting Lab in 2009. Her plays have been publicly read at PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS, and by actors including Annette Bening, Patricia Arquette, Catherine O’Hara, Hart Bochner, Dana Delany, Bradley Whitford and Jane Kazmarek. She is a member of the Playwrights Workshop at Ensemble Studio Theatre, West.
A frequent blogger for The Huffington Post, Janet is also an Autism Advocacy activist. The mother of a son on the Autism Spectrum, she served as a Board Member of Cure Autism Now, which merged with Autism Speaks in 2007. She currently resides in Los Angeles.