Heather Brown | Filmmaker

Heather Brown for AICAD

Heather Brown, who graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2008 with a B.F.A. degree in digital filmmaking, experienced an unusually smooth transition from Kansas City to Hollywood. “I was very fortunate to land a job at Panavision Hollywood as soon as I got to California,” she said. “It opened many doors and opportunities to work with very talented people and camera savvy assistants in the Los Angeles area.”

Brown is known for her work on “Bad Grandpa” (2013), “Any Day Now” (2012) and “The Mindy Project (2012).” She was director of photography for “Yes Please,” starring Amy Poehler, and camera operator for Katy Perry’s “Birthday Music Video” and a biographical profile about Serena Williams for Nike.

She maintains a down-to-earth attitude about working with celebrities. “I usually have a hard time recognizing most celebrities,” she said, “but when I work with them and know who they are, it is interesting to get to know them outside the world they are usually portrayed in. Most of the celebrities I have worked with are just good people who really love what they do. It’s why they’re so successful. I think when you can love your work and what you are trying to create, it makes a big difference.”

In addition to commercial work, she also has been involved in award-winning art films and documentaries. She is looking for funding that will allow her to work on more of her own projects — work that will allow her to spread her wings as a director and create a “dream team” to make artistic pieces come to life.

In 2014, her film “French Words” screened at Portland’s Experimental Film Festival and won best experimental film at both the Kansas City Film Festival and the Yosemite International Film Festival.

Brown dates the start of her career to a job posting she spotted while she was a student at KCAI.“A company was requesting help for a film being shot in Winnipeg, Canada,” she recalled. “They needed props and information about Kansas City as well as location scout photos for the film ‘The Lookout,’ starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels.” She became friends with the crew and received an invitation to visit Manitoba over spring break and work on “My Winnipeg,” directed by Guy Maddin. “It was my first ‘on set’ experience,” she said, “and that experience changed everything. I knew immediately what I wanted to be doing.”