Known for her producing work on socially and culturally-minded projects like Dear White People and Real Women Have Curves, Effie T. Brown has been a game-changing advocate for inclusivity in the industry. That said, the veteran producer is bringing her work to the next level as she has been named the CEO of Gamechanger.
Launched in 2013, Gamechanger is the first film financing fund by and for women. Brown will bring her expertise to help broaden the fund’s scope to include projects by and about people of color, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. In addition to films, Gamechanger is set to expand its reach to television and digital content with a new, fully monetized development fund that will enable it to buy, option and develop IP for television, streaming and digital platforms.
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“As a black female producer who’s been in the business for over 20 years, I know how hard it is to not only get into the room but to then secure financing when you have a culturally diverse or gender specific point of view,” said Brown. “I am beyond thrilled to join Gamechanger as CEO and help level the playing field by providing equity financing for production, development monies as well as strategic partnerships for people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, women, and people of color. What also makes us different is that the diversity of our content is as diverse as our investor pool. Our investors understand that it is going to take all of us pooling our monies together to ensure that these inclusive voices are given the opportunity to own their story from script to screen.”
Also joining Gamechanger are trailblazing producer Nina Yang Bongiovi (Fruitvale Station, Dope, Sorry to Bother You) and Arturo Barquet,EVP and Chief Financial Officer of Global Production Operations at Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, as Advisors. Jennifer Kushner, who was Director of Artist Development at Film Independent, is joining the Gamechanger fund as Chief Content Officer.
Rounding out the game-changing fund are Brenda Robinson (Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Icarus) and Naja Pham Lockwood (Last Days in Vietnam, Gook) who joining the original founding team of Geralyn Dreyfous, Dan Cogan and Wendy Ettinger. Robinson and Pham Lockwood are investing their own money, ensuring that Gamechanger is both headed by and has significant financing from women of color.
Passing, which is produced by Bongiovi and Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions is a reflection of Gamechanger’s future investments. New founder Brenda Robinson was responsible for putting together a syndicate of African-American investors for the project, in addition to investing her own money. The feature stars Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Andre Holland, Alexander Skarsgård and Bill Camp. The story follows two African American women, each of whom can “pass” as white but choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1928 Harlem.
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