Janet Grillo 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 of launching the careers of emerging filmmakers.
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and an MFA recipient of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Janet worked as Assistant Literary Manager for Circle Repertory Company in the early 1980’s, where she was also a member of their Playwright’s Workshop Lab. At this time, she began her association with New Line, as their first “in house” Story Analyst, in 1984. 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 in 1989. Her first project was the discovery of filmmaker Reggie Hudlin, and the development of his feature debut, HOUSE PARTY. The film received the coveted Audience Award at Sundance in 1990, 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 and Doug E. Doug. It received the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance in 1991. She developed and Associate Produced PUMP UP THE VOLUME in 1992. In 1994, Janet 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 in 1995 and launched his career. Subsequently, she was married to David for 13 years and participated in the development 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 (PALOOKAVILLE).
In 1994, Janet left New Line 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 1999 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 20002. She produced a documentary about Autism, THE MIRACLE PROJECT, and developing a slate of motion pictures and television projects with talent such as E. Max Frye, Patricia Heaton, Donald Margulies, Susan Miller, Theresa Rebeck, Suzanna Styron, Agatha Dominick and Cary Bickley.
Janet Executive Produced the documentary feature AUTISM: THE MUSICAL which premiered to high acclaim at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, won the coveted audience award at the Newport Film Festival, and was acquired for distribution by HBO. It won Emmy for Best Non Fiction Feature in 2008. Gary Goldstein of the LA TIMES cited it as one of four indie films most overlooked for an Oscar nomination that year. She teaches at NYU Tisch School of the Arts Undergraduate Film and Television Program.
Janet was a Board Member of Cure Autism Now, which merged with Autism Speaks and currently resides in New York City with her son Matt, who is on the Autism Spectrum.
Janet joined our team in 2007 with responsibilities for preparing psychological assessment reports.