Effie Brown (Dear White People) will be honored with the Trailblazer Award at The 2017 Audience Awards Film Festival (AudFest).  The festival will showcase 110 award-winning short films by world-class filmmakers and will celebrate some of the most respected, diverse industry voices of our time. In addition to Brown, award-winning documentarian Ondi Timoner (DIG!, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC, BRAND: A Second Coming) will be recognized with the Maverick Award; Paz Lenchantin of The Pixies, will be the recipient of the Avant-Garde Award; and Jacques Thelemaque, President of Filmmakers Alliance, will be honored with the Community Impact Award.  The festival runs April 6-9th, 2017, at the Laemmle Noho and El Portal Theaters

“We celebrate diverse, emerging storytellers by providing a global platform for their voices to be heard,” says Paige Williams, Audience Awards’ Founder and CEO. “Our inaugural AudFest in LA honors and elevates the stories of new filmmakers and of the venerated industry leaders who carved the path for them.”

WFC winning filmmakers will also be matched with top-tier women in the film industry at a mentorship brunch during the festival. Participants include Svetlana Cvetko, award-winning cinematographer; Deniese Davis, COO of ColorCreative.TV; Sarah Halley Finn, casting director; Darrien Michele Gipson, National Director of SAGindie; Moira Griffin, Senior Manager of Diversity Incentives at Sundance Institute; Poppy Hanks, SVP of Development and Production for MACRO; Debbie Liebling, entertainment executive and film producer; Roberta Marie Munroe, award-winning director, producer and author; Lynnette Ramirez, Content Creator and Executive Manager at 51 Minds Entertainment; and Orly Ravid, Founder/Co-Executive Director of the distribution nonprofit The Film Collaborative and an entertainment attorney at MSK (Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP).

Effie Brown is currently the VP of production and development at Lee Daniels’ Fox-based production company where she oversees a fund to recruit diverse storytellers and below-the-line talent for film and TV.  In addition to her current position, she serves the executive producer of Daniels’ upcoming series Star alongside Tom Donaghy (The Whole Truth), and Pamela Oas Williams.  In addition to Star, Daniels and Brown will team up for a half hour comedy starring standup comedian Ms. Pat (Patricia Williams).  Brown and Daniels will executive produce this comedy alongside Williams and Brian Grazer.

For more information on the festival click HERE, and check out the festival events below!

Thursday, April 6th:
Jacques Thelemaque is honored with Audience Awards’ Community Impact Award, followed by a screening of a short film from Filmmakers Alliance.

Paz Lenchantin performs live to accompany her Super 8 film The Spider Lady and then receives the Avant-Garde Award. Her performance is followed by the world premiere screening of the Super8 One Roll Film Challenge winners, also with live music accompaniment.

Friday, April 7th:
Effie Brown will receive the Trailblazer Award followed by a conversation on her career and her commitment to diversity moderated by Franklin Leonard, Founder, CEO: The Black List. Next is a screening of the award-winning Fusion Doc Challenge shorts, all of which were shot, edited and produced in 120 hours.

Saturday, April 8th:
Audience Awards’ Maverick Award goes to Ondi Timoner. A conversation about her groundbreaking career will be moderated by Anne Thompson, Editor-at-Large at Indiewire, followed by the red carpet screening of the Women’s Film Challenge short-film winners.

Sunday, April 9th:
Awards Ceremony and Farewell Brunch where filmmakers from Women’s Film Challenge, Pro8 and the other screening blocks will be eligible to receive over $30,000 in cash and prizes from companies including Panavision, Audience Awards, Filmstro Pro, Tangerine Entertainment, POV, Pro8mm, Kodak, Montana Film Office and VideoMaker.

Opportunities in Branded Content: Moderated by David S. Cohen, Digital Features Director for Variety, AudFest attendees will hear about identifying brand collaborations to sustain a rewarding career as a short-form filmmaker. Panelists include industry leaders from Audience Awards, SXM, Ketchum Sports & Entertainment, and PatternBreak.

Secrets to Successful Productions: Moderator Ilyanne Morden Kichaven, Executive Director of Los Angeles SAG-AFTRA, will help narrow down the vital nuts and bolts of filmmaking, including permits, contract negotiation and location scouting. Panelists include executives from Donaldson + Callif, LLP, Film LA, AFCI, and the Youth and Gender Media Project.

Talking Festival Strategy with the Experts: Moderated by Mark Olsen, staff writer for the LA Times, panelists talk navigating the festival circuit, submissions strategy, planning your premiere and life after the festival circuit. Festival experts are with the Seattle, Palm Springs, Tribeca, Outfest, and Hollywood Shorts film festivals.

Social Impact Through Filmmaking: Moderated by Rachel De Leon, Emmy-winning video producer and reporter for The Pulitzer-prize winning Center for Investigative Reporting, social influencers will talk about how to successfully deliver your message through media to engage a global community. Contributors are from Participant Media, VICE Media, Inc., along with award-winning filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez.

Inside the Writers’ Room with Story Editors from “Empire”: Moderator Joseph Kapsch, Managing Editor of TooFab, will have a conversation with JaNeika and JaSheika James, sisters and story editors for FOX’s “Empire.”