Behind the Scenes at Lionsgate

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Naysan Mahmoudi

While actors may get the Entertainment Weekly covers and Academy Awards, many people keep Hollywood running behind the glitz and glamour.

Naysan Mahmoudi ’96 has an integral role behind the scenes at entertainment and media firm Lionsgate. Mahmoudi is executive director, business and legal affairs, in Legal Clearances, and his team ensures that the company’s products and giveaways are legally compliant with the requirements in contracts, agreements and federal mandates. It’s a different world from civil litigation, the field he first worked in after graduating from San Fernando Valley College of Law in 2001. “I quickly realized I absolutely did not want to handle people’s problems,” he says.

Mahmoudi started an internship at Lionsgate in 2002, in the firm’s infancy. Looking to expand his breadth of knowledge, he made the move to E! Entertainment Television in 2005, working in TV production rights and clearances, before coming back to Lionsgate in 2011. There, he has worked on major movies including La La Land, The Hunger Games and Twilight.

He originally planned on studying kinesiology at Santa Monica College, but after charting out four years of course requirements, realized it wasn’t the right fit. Eventually Mahmoudi transferred to the University of Redlands, along with a close friend and his girlfriend (now wife), Catherine Choate Mahmoudi ’96. At U of R, he joined the Kappa Sigma Sigma fraternity and decided to study government.

“When I was getting ready to transfer to the University of Redlands, I was flipping through the catalog, and I got to the section about government,” he recalls. “The page in the book brightened.”

He found his professors, including Art Svenson and Gordon Lloyd, engaging and encouraging. Svenson’s Constitutional Law course especially sparked his interest, and Mahmoudi ultimately chose law school, which he found to be an “intense, rigorous workout of reading, writing, analysis and critical thinking.”

Mahmoudi now lives in Santa Monica with his wife and sons—Kian, Mason and Camden—just a few blocks from work, and is happy with where he’s at. “I don’t see myself leaving or going on a different career path,” he says. “I enjoy this too much, and, after 16 years, I’m pretty good at it.”

—Catherine Garcia ’06

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