The first NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant was presented to Janet Grillo‘s Jack of the Red Hearts in 2015.
Jack (AnnaSophia Robb) is a tough teenage runaway on the lam from her parole officer. The conniving street kid brazenly impersonates a trained caregiver and forms a unique bond with an 11 year-old autistic girl named Glory (Taylor Richardson). The child’s desperate mother Kay (Famke Janssen), also bonds with the imposter, as a surrogate daughter she can actually talk to. And the girl’s cute older brother Robert (Israel Broussard) falls in love. When the deception is exposed and the cops descend, loving father Mark (Scott Cohen) struggles to hold his family together as the pieces of this puzzle are reshuffled into a new, satisfying whole.
The film premiered on May 6, 2015 at the Bentonville Film Festival and released theatrically on February 26, 2016
Janet Grillo is an award winning filmmaker, Emmy Award winning producer, former executive at New Line Cinema, and Professor at NYU Film School. Janet directed Jack of the Red Hearts, starring Famke Janssen and AnnaSophia Robb (Jury Prize/ Bentonville Film Festival, founded by Geena Davis promoting Women and Diversity; Audience Award & Best Young Actor/ Woods Hole FF; Chimera Award Gender Equality/Catalina FF; Best Feature, Best Director/Golden Door FF. European debut, Rome FF – Alice Nella Cittta). Jack of the Red Hearts was released in 25 AMC theaters, was seen by 1 million people on LIFETIME TV, and DVD/VOD/streaming throughout US/Canada. Distribution in Australia/NZ.
Janet won an Emmy as Executive Producer of HBO’s Autism: The Musical. She wrote, directed & produced the feature Fly Away (premiered at SXSW FF/Best Performance at the ARIZONA Intl Film Festival). Critics in HuffPost, New York Observer and The LA Times recommended Oscar nominations. While at New Line Cinema, Janet launched the House Party series. She holds an MFA from NYU, and a BA with Honors in Theater, from Wesleyan University.
Janet is the mother of an adult son on the Autism Spectrum, and a former board member of Cure Autism Now Foundation.