Sundance in January, Toronto in September, Cannes in May—most film festivals tend to be annual affairs. Dave Brown—actor, producer, mover, and shaker—is not willing to wait. Enter Indie Night, his weekly screening of films, TV series, and other assorted offerings by emerging talent at the TCL Chinese Theatre, in Hollywood, formerly known first as Grauman’s, then as Mann’s. Brown canvasses film schools, inviting up-and-coming filmmakers to submit projects for consideration, and the most promising ones are screened for an audience of more than 150 industry types, fellow aspirants, and plain old film lovers.
When Brown first tossed around the idea, certain members of the Hollywood establishment were less than enthused. He soldiered on. “When someone tells me I can’t do something, I will prove you wrong,” he vowed. Before long, the likes of director Lee Daniels, Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter, and the director John Singleton, who died this year, were coming to see what all the fuss was about. Robi Reed, the casting director and producer, is now a monthly regular. “Indie Night is my golf course,” says Brown. “Bring all the writers, actors, producers to one place, and you’re eventually going to build a lot of deals.”