July 25, 2011, 7:00 P.M.

The Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre, SCA 112, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The SCA Summer Screening Series, Cricket Films and New Video invite you and a guest to a special screening of:

Fly Away

Written, Directed and Produced by Janet Grillo

Followed by a Q&A with Janet Grillo

7:00 P.M. on Monday, July 25th, 2011

The Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 112
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007



Official Selection, 2011 SxSW Film Festival

About Fly Away

A powerful film directed by Emmy Award® winner Janet Grillo (Autism: The Musical), FLY AWAY narrates the story of Jeanne (Beth Broderick, Bonfire of the Vanities, Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and her autistic teenage daughter, Mandy (Ashley Rickards, One Tree Hill). Jeanne has cared for Mandy since the day she was born, growing closer every day to a child who is charmingly offbeat one moment and nearly impossible to manage the next. In the dog park, Jeanne encounters Tom (Greg Germann, Ally McBeal, Friends with Money), an easygoing and accepting neighbor who sparks a romantic interest, but she finds juggling Mandy’s care and her own career leaves little room for a new man. As the pressures of work and her child’s needs increase, she must decide whether or not to enroll Mandy in a therapeutic residential facility. Over the course of a few weeks, Jeanne is confronted with the most difficult decision a parent can make: to let go, allowing her child to grow, but also grow apart; or to hold on tight and fall together.

Provided courtesy of Cricket Films and New Video. Not rated. Running time: 85 minutes.

To visit the Official Website and view the trailer, click here.


About the Guests

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.

Director's Statement

As the mother of a child with disabilities, I was immediately thrust into the challenge every parent must face at some point: meeting the needs of your child when it is at great cost to yourself. Perhaps the very measure of love is what and how much we are willing to sacrifice. Although parenting someone with Autism is particular, the primal drive to do the best for one?s child is universal. FLY AWAY tells this story.

FLY AWAY is a personal film, derived from experience. As I have journeyed with other parents of children with special needs, I?ve witnessed great pain and extraordinary passion. I?ve also watched parents unable to place their children in full time therapeutic residences, when it was clearly needed. While such placement is not best for all or even most children on the spectrum, it?s tragic when parents are too plagued with fear and guilt to make the choice when it is. If FLY AWAY eases the pain of even one parent?s torturous decision, or if it expands the heart of even one person untouched by Autism to accept our children and appreciate our struggles, it will have been well worth making. The authenticity of our story can provide insight and hope. Truth often does.

- Janet Grillo

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the general public. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Phone: 213.740.2330