'Project Greenlight' Breakout Effie Brown Joins Lee Daniels' Company (Exclusive)
Daniels' company also grows with the addition of his producing partner Pam Williams, who produced 'The Butler.'
Effie Brown, the veteran indie producer of films like Dear White People, who most recently served as a producer on HBO's Project Greenlight, has joined Lee Daniels' production company. The Butler producer Pam Williams has also joined Lee Daniels Entertainment as the company continues to grow its slate with more television and film projects.
"I'm extremely excited. In my opinion, Lee Daniels is a cultural icon," Brown, who will serve as executive vp production and development for TV and Film, tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm really happy to be here because part of Lee Daniels' brand is that he does value diversity in front of as well as behind the camera."
Daniels, who executive produces and writes hit musical TV series Empire, started working with Brown on Fox’s untitled pilot centering on a girl group hoping to make it in the music industry, which will star Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt. Brown is executive producing the series as her first project as a member of Lee Daniels Entertainment (LDE).
"We’re elated to have Effie on board for this new chapter of LDE," says Daniels. "What she brings to the table in terms of creativity and tenacity is unrivaled and we cannot imagine anyone better for this position."
Brown says that she'll work with Daniels on TV and film projects, plus exploring new media opportunities and new platforms like virtual reality. "We want to be content creators and producers and facilitators with an eye toward inclusion," Brown says, adding that the company is developing fellowships as well as projects. "We're looking not only for projects for Lee, but we want to grow the company with directors, producers and projects that we can facilitate towards the market."
Lee Daniels Entertainment has also grown with the addition of Daniels' producing partner Pam Williams, who first worked with Daniels on Lee Daniels' The Butler and joined the company when Daniels struck a multiyear overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television.
"I love television and had been away from it for a while, so this was a natural step," says Williams, who got her start in TV, with her first producing job on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. "Lee is such a magnet for talent, so with this new deal we're able to focus that on television. That has me really excited."
Williams adds that Brown has the experience and relationships to add to the company as it grows into TV. "Lee Daniels Entertainment is about finding diverse new voices and I just felt with her work history and her partnerships, she really had her pulse on on the things that we wanted to focus on for the company," says Williams of Brown.
Brown was most recently seen on HBO's series Project Greenlight, which follows a first-time director who is chosen to shoot his or her feature film. In the premiere episode in September, Brown, who was producing the film, was speaking about the importance of diversity in film when Damon seemed to interrupt her to dismiss the need for it behind the scenes.
"When we’re talking about diversity you do it in the casting of the film not in the casting of the show," said Damon on the show. He later issued an apology for his comments after he was widely criticized.
"My experience on Project Greenlight has made me really value this new opportunity to work with Lee and Pam, who are such wonderful collaborators and innovators," says Brown. "Project Greenlight was an amazing experience, but it also made it very clear that we have a long way to go, so it's a boon and a blessing to join Lee because our visions completely align."
Brown has previously produced 2014’s Sundance breakout Dear White People directed by Justin Simien, along with HBO Films’ 2002 film Real Women Have Curves and 2007’s Rocket Science. She's repped by Glenn Rigberg at Inphenate.
Lee Daniels Entertainment produced Fox's Empire along with films like Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Paperboy, Precious and Monster’s Ball. He's repped by CAA.