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Women in Film: Janet Grillo Tackles Autism in Her New Film ‘Jack of the Red Hearts’

Women in Film: Janet Grillo Tackles Autism in Her New Film 'Jack of the Red Hearts'

The origin of this project goes as far back in our women’s collective memory to the time in the late 80s when Janet Grillo was head of Acquisitions for New
Line Cinema and Sara Risher was head of production. I was buying features for Lorimar or Republic Pictures. We did not know at that time that one day,
after Janet had completed her directorial debut, the lovely and loving film “Fly Away,” that Sara would tell a certain writer-producer. to show her
script to Janet as a possible director.

Janet liked it and together they developed it further at L.A. Film Independent. They then won the PGA Script Award.
They hired an 18-year-old who had been a child actress and was a NYU Freshman just finishing a TV Career. She agreed to star in January and the film was
shot the following May 2014.

It premiered in Geena Davis’ Inaugural 2015 Bentonville Film Festival in May 2015 where it won the Jury Geena Davis’ new effort to celebrate the work of
women and diverse voices in media also is the only festival to guarantee distribution for its winners’ project.

“The goal of the festival is not just to showcase women and diversity—it’s to really have a proactive and powerful effect on the industry,” says Davis, BFF
co-founder and founder and chair of the nonprofit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “We’re intent on being extremely proactive in showing the films
that include women and that are very commercial. Our goal is to show that this is the direction in which things are heading and we should get there

Jack of the Red Hearts” has now arrived in theaters nationwide as of February 26, 2016. “Jack of the Red Hearts”. Arc Entertainment and Trent Drinkwaer
who founded the Bentonville Film Festival with Geena guarantees a minimum of one week in AMC theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago,
Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Mimai, Minneapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and
Washington D.C.

On its opening night, Thursday, February 25, Geena Davis, Famke Janssen, Phyllis Nagy (writer, “Carol), Catherine Hardwicke (director, “Twilight ) and Danielle Carrig (SVP Lifetime) joined “Jack of the Red Hearts” director Janet Grillo, producer Lucy Mukerjee-Brown and writer Jennifer
Deaton for a special screening of the film and Q&A at the YouTube Space in L.A. In conjunction with Broad Focus, Lifetime, the Genna Davis Institute on
Gender in Media and the Bentonville Film Festival, the Q&A, moderated by the Wrap’s Sharon Waxman, will begin immediately followed the 7pm screening.

It will play on Lifetime April 20 which is Autism Awareness Month. It will show again at Bentonville Film Festival’s second edition May 3 – 8 of this year.

Bentonville’s strong affiliation with Walmart, the only vendor and the largest still selling DVDs will release it in its stores and on its VOD site.

Anna Sophia Robb
portrays “Jack,” a tough teenage runaway on the lam
from her parole officer. The conniving street kid brazenly impersonates a
caregiver and forms a unique bond with an 11 year-old autistic girl
named Glory, brilliantly played by newcomer Taylor Richardson. Famke Janssen, as the child’s desperate mother Kay, 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.

“Jack of the Red Hearts” is directed by Janet Grillo (writer/director of “Fly Away
and executive producer of Emmy®-winning
“Autism: The Musical”) and written by Jennifer
Deaton. Both have strong ties to the autism community as Grillo is
mother to a child on the
autism spectrum and Deaton is aunt to a child on the
spectrum. The producers are Stefan Nowicki, Joey Carey, Lucy
Mukerjee-Brown, and
Morgan White.

The film stars AnnaSophia Robb (“The Carrie Diaries,” “Soul Surfer), Famke Janssen (“X-Men), Scott Cohen (“One Life to
Live”), Taylor Richardson (“Annie), Israel Broussard (“The Bling Ring) and John D’Leo (“Unbroken).

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