JANET GRILLO PODCAST September 19 2009 - PRESS PLAY TO LISTEN
Janet Grillo is an Emmy Award winning producer, an Award winning writer and director, and a former Studio Executive.
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 launching the careers of emerging filmmakers.
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.
While still in Graduate School, Janet began her association with New Line, as their first “in house” Story Analyst. She was soon hired to establish the Story Department, and became the company’s first Story Editor. After a few years she identified the need for a separate Acquisitions Division and designed that department, becoming the company’s first Director of Acquisitions. After traveling to international film festivals, including Berlin, Cannes, Toronto and Sundance, pursuing North American rights to feature films, she returned to production. Her first project launched the career of filmmaker Reggie Hudlin, when 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.
While 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 developed and Associate Produced PUMP UP THE VOLUME, starring Christian Slater. Janet also developed and Co-Executive Produced Ted Demme’s directorial debut, WHO’S THE MAN. The same year, she developed and Executive Produced David O. Russell’s acclaimed feature debut, SPANKING THE MONKEY. It won the Sundance Audience Award and launched his prestigious career. Subsequently, she was married to David for 13 years and participated in the development and editing of FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, THREE KINGS and I HEART HUCKABEES.
During her tenure at New Line, Janet oversaw a staff of five executives and a slate of projects. She was the first to professionally recognize and employ the talents of Seth Tsvi Rosenfeld (BROTHER’S KISS) and Alan Taylor (Emmy Award winning director of MADMEN) to develop feature film projects.
After a decade at New Line, Janet to pursue her own producing ventures. Since then she Executive Produced the critically acclaimed independent feature, JOE THE KING, which marked the writing and directing debut of actor Frank Whaley. The picture won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival. It was released by TriMark in October of that year. Along with Ruth Charny (GRACE OF MY HEART and SEARCH AND DESTROY), Janet produced SEARCHING FOR PARADISE, the filmmaking debut of Myra Paci, which was developed at the Writing and Directing Lab at Sundance. It was distributed on the Sundance Channel.
In 2007, Janet Executive Produced the esteemed documentary AUTISM: THE MUSICAL, with Bunim Murray Productions, which premiered on HBO in March, 2008, and is distributed by New Video. It 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 one for Janet as Producer of The Best Non Fiction Special (i.e.; Best Documentary).
Janet recently wrote and directed two short films; AT THE BEACH, starring Lucinda Jenney, and FLYING LESSONS, starring Dana Delany. FLYING LESSONS premiered at Palm Springs International Film Festival in August of 2008, to good reviews. It was selected by many prestigious festivals, including the ATLANTA, LA SHORT, RHODE ISLAND and SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS, and receieved the Silver Lei Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the HONOLULU INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, as well as Best Dramatic Short at FIRST LOOK FESTIVAL, LA. AT THE BEACH took second place for best screenplay at the BALTIMORE WOMEN’S FILM FESTIVAL.
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, 2009.
Janet is currently in pre-production to direct her first feature, which she also wrote, entitled THE GOOD ONE. It will be Excecutive Produced by the esteemed filmmaker, Catherine Hardwicke (THIRTEEN, LORDS of DOGTOWN, NATIVITY and TWIGHLIGHT).
A frequent blogger for The Huffington Post, Janet’s short stories and poetry have been published in small literary magazines. 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.
The mother of a son on the Autism Spectrum, Janet served a Board Member of Cure Autism Now, which merged with Autism Speaks in 2007, and is an activist fundraiser for the cause. She currently resides in Los Angeles.