If you are a SFTV student or alumni, chances are you have met this year’s Film Outside the Frame Distinguished Alumni Honoree, award-winning film and television producer Effie Brown. Brown, who will be honored at the 11th annual FOF student awards and film festival at Paramount Pictures, has produced 17 feature films including Real Women Have Curves and But I’m a Cheerleader, has taught producing courses at the film school, and sits on the board of Film Independent.
She’s also been in the news lately. Hailed as the ‘new star’ of HBO’s docudrama Project Greenlight, she raises questions during the season premiere about the issue of diversity (or lack of diversity) in Hollywood. On the show, she serves as a mentor/producer to Project Greenlight winner and fellow SFTV alum Jason Mann, who is making his first feature film from an original screenplay.
Brown’s own work spotlights issues of race and culture. Under her company Duly Noted Inc., she produced last year’s highly acclaimed independent film Dear White People. Called “a button-pushing word-of-mouth dynamo” by The Wall Street Journal, the satire won the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and Best Picture at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
During an interview with SFTV to preview an advance screening of the film, Brown gave the following advice to film students: “First of all, they need to find their voice. Producers have a voice and a lot of times people think producers just grab onto the next big thing,” she said. “However, the projects you choose to do are often not for the monetary gain. They’re gonna be for love and passion. Start working on those projects in school that fulfill your voice.”
“Effie Brown is the perfect choice for this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award,” says Stacy Barnes, SFTV’s Development Director, overseeing fundraising and alumni relations. “Effie epitomizes the spirit of the entrepreneurial, independent filmmaker while also selflessly offering mentorship, advice and honest opinions to SFTV’s young content creators embarking on this incredibly difficult journey to become working artists.”
Currently in production on Omar Tyree’s Flyy Girl for Lionsgate, Brown recently sold Tananarive Due’s The Good House to Lifetime. She received her B.A. in Film Production and Theater from LMU in 1993.
She joins a distinguished list of LMU alums who have been honored for their professional achievements, contributions to the arts and to the LMU community.
Past FOF Distinguished Alumni Honorees include producer/director/writer David Mirkin (The Simpsons), director Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games), producer/screenwriter Melissa Blake (Sleepy Hollow), producer Francie Calfo (Empire), and Tanner Kling and Chris Hanada (Co-founders, Retrofit Films).
The 11th Annual Film Outside the Frame is Saturday, September 26 at 1:30 p.m., Paramount Pictures. RSVPs are required.