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Alumni Spotlight: Effie T. Brown ’93

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Effie T. Brown – Producer, LMU ’93

Brown has more than 50 producing credits to her name including Dear White People (2014), Real Women Have Curves (2002) and But, I’m a Cheerleader (1999). She is also on the Board of Directors of Film Independent, and won the Motorola Producer Award at the 2003 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Though it was hardly a straight path from her New Jersey hometown to being one of Hollywood’s most-prolific independent producers today, it is also hardly a surprise that Effie Brown has succeeded on her own terms.

Brown arrived at LMU as a young actress who had been admitted to the undergraduate theater program. “I was an outsider. I had no connections at LMU or in the film industry. It was clear I was going to have to learn how to earn a living if I wanted to follow this path.”

Her first performance was on the first day of freshman orientation in the dean’s office, where she made a case for why she should be invited to transfer into the film program so that she could become a director. “I wanted to go into film because in theater you can only speak to 200-300 people at a time. In film, you can speak to millions,” recalls Brown. “I told him, ‘I am going to be bigger than Oprah and Jerry Bruckheimer. I know on a cellular level that I want to do this.’ He saw my heart and passion, and said, ‘OK, but you’re going to have to sink or swim on your own.’ ”

Brown graduated with a focus on producing and a posse of collaborators who remain her friends and professional allies to this day. She quickly worked her way up through the ranks to become director of development for Tim Burton Productions, before emerging as a film and television producer known for (guess what?) ingenuity, grit and principles — and telling the stories of outsiders who passionately want their voices to be heard.