Growing up from humble beginnings on Detroit’s west 7 mile, Darren Brown became the Godfather of Independent filmmaking in Detroit, a title he doesn’t take lightly. He made his first director’s debut in 2006 with Project 313. His passion for film and writing stems from the need to tell different stories and create experiences and perspectives inspired by his hometown.

With a robust history in production, Brown has produced many projects with more on the way. When it comes to his own written works of art, he keeps his ideas entertaining, fresh, and most of all, thought provoking, which can be seen in his upcoming film, Melanin.


Paying homage to the 1970 film Watermelon Man by Melvin Van Peebles, Melanin uniquely shows what it's like to live as a black man after a white man takes a tanning pill to escape life’s setbacks. The film goes on to expose the social issues that plague the black community.

“It’s disheartening how the social mark that we hit 50 years with a movie like watermelon man is still in the same spot ,” said Brown.

Brown is one of the first filmmakers in Detroit to have a national distribution deal in independent filmmaking, creating a domino effect of inspiration for upcoming filmmakers. Becoming a mentor to many, he prides himself in creating opportunities and getting others to think outside the box.


“I want to create the proper steps for the missteps I took,” said Brown. “Creating knowledgeable filmmakers creates more opportunities for everyone. Creating a community is what big brands and big production companies want to see and that opens up doors for endless opportunities and partnerships.”

With over 18 years in the industry, Brown continues to cultivate the film scene. In 2018, he founded the Detroit Filmmaker Awards, honoring more than 40 Detroit-produced films and the curators behind them. The dDFA became a creative space for over 400 filmmakers in Detroit to network and execute their passion for film.

“I want the Detroit Filmmaker Awards to be that creative hub where individuals can bounce ideas off each other,” said Brown. “Working together is key when building a community that has value and most importantly is valued by others.”


His knowledge and love for film has allowed him to achieve new positions including Director of Content for the 20th annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. Working alongside A listers such as Viola Davis, former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama, Tyler Perry, Spike Lee, and more, Brown hopes to create a similar presence in Detroit and by creating the 3 day Midwest Filmmaker Festival.

“We want to expand the room by inviting art and music curators to the festivities,” said Brown.

Summarizing a bold aspiration for both DFA and MFF, Brown intends to make it a staple in the artistic community. He hopes to continue to create a bigger canvas and magnified voice to allow people to see what’s being created and the influence Detroit has on the evolution of filmmaking, including himself.

He credits his growing success to staying true to the art of filmmaking and becoming the artist he aspires to be.

Check out “Dymez” on tubi and follow on IG: Darrenbrownfilms

Photo Credits by Eric Thomas