Brown thrives in tough times

Producer pieces together funding

“It’s taken a recession for my company to take off,” jokes Effie Brown.

The Los Angeles-based producer behind such Sundance films as “Real Women Have Curves” and “Rocket Science” has just wrapped two films, has another about to go into production and several in active development, including 2009 Cannes Atelier selection “Bury Me Standing.”

Like so many producers on the Cote d’Azur this week, Brown, who operates under her Duly Noted shingle, will be at the fest and market to meet with potential partners for her projects.

Duly Noted’s slate is a case study of what it takes to get independent films off the ground in today’s marketplace: large doses of private equity, some locations incentives, and a little help from fests and script labs.

Several of Brown’s projects are backed by equity investors. They include Miami Heat basketball player Jermaine O’Neal, lottery winner Cynthia Stafford — who is using her winnings and biz acumen to back female filmmakers — and a European businessman.

“Bury,” written and to be helmed by Caran Hartsfield, won a Sundance NHK prize, which comes with Japanese distribution. A dramedy about four family members who must reassess their choices after a death, the film is set to star Kerry Washington, Mos Def, Alfre Woodard and Kat Williams. Hartsfield’s script also was backed by Cannes’ Cinefondation.

While Brown is in post on two films — urban fright pic “My Place in the Horror,” by playwright Robert O’Hara, and Chicago-set family drama “Polish Bar,” with Meatloaf, Judd Hirsh and Richard Belzer — she is prepping fully financed skateboarder pic “One Kine Day,” by writer-director Chick Mitsui, for a June shoot in Hawaii that will tap local tax breaks. Script also received support from the Binger Script Lab Script Development Program.

Brown’s development slate includes a Tilda Swinton pic and another exec produced by musician Timbaland. “Killer Ap”is the third pic in Lynn Hershmann’s trilogy (“Conceiving Ada,” “Teknolust”), starring Swinton. And “Killer Ap,” written and directed by Richard Zelniker, follows five women involved with a struggling musician.

Brown also has a completed film she’ll be shopping: Marco Orsini’s Ethiopian travel docu “The Reluctant Traveler.”

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