Miami Raised. Cali Based:
interview / Cindy Cowan | photography & make-up / Troy Jensen
Although Miami raised American film producer Cindy Cowan is based in Cali, her love for Miami remains strong. We had the pleasure of spending the day with Cindy and got to experience first hand what a grounded and down to earth individual she is.
On our first email exchange, you mentioned that you were originally from Miami. What did you like best about growing up in Miami and how long did you live here?
I was born in Miami Beach at Mount Sinai hospital. I lived in Miami until I graduated from College. It was a great place to grow up. The weather can't be beat, my whole family lives there, and Miami has a real sense of community.
What do you miss most about it?
The cost of living. I really miss the tax structure in Florida and the general, overall living cost. California is a very expensive state to live in. I also miss my family and some of the diverse cultural experiences that Miami offers. It's nice to feel like you have a taste of Europe in your own backyard. Plus, Miami has amazing music
Have you ever considered moving back?
Sometimes... Again, the cost of living in LA gets tiresome. I have a lot of friends moving to Miami now, just to get a better retirement opportunity or to save money on taxes.Again, I also miss my family who all still reside down there, so I would never say never.
I read that it was songwriting that first brought you out to LA. Do you still dabble in some music from time to time?
Not really, but music will always be my first passion. I have a lot of friends that are huge rock stars, so I get to live the music life through them.
I always say music effects everything we do. Imagine watching a film with no score or soundtrack. Or imagine going through something sad or happy without a good song to pull you through.
I am still a massive music geek. Maybe if I am doing a film that runs out of money one day...I'll write a song again. That would actually be a lot of fun!
Was music your first passion?
Yes it was. My father used to have some of the biggest names in music perform at our hotel, the Diplomat, so I grew up with the greats. I loved every minute of it.
I am the girl with music always blaring in my car or my house,and you can frequently find me at rock concerts.
So, why the switch into films?
fell into song writing by accident. I got lucky enough to have a few songs on the radio, but to me it was just a hobby because there were some extremely talented people out there.
Film was more of a business. I needed a job so it was the natural switch for me.
Was it a smooth transition from songwriting?
Absolutely. I still get to work with some of my idols in the music world when doing my films.Jon Bon Jovi was in a movie I did. U2 scored one of our films, and I am hoping to work with Diane Warren and Bruce Springsteen on some upcoming projects.
Where did your love for production begin?
My love for production began when I was thrown on a film set a long time ago. I wasn't qualified enough to be there, but the company I worked with needed someone to go to the set in another country. I had to learn everything quickly to make sure that film came in on time and on budget. It was film production bootcamp 101. Once it was over, I was exhausted but loved every minute of it. I was hooked.
What would you say has been the most inspiring film you produced?
That depends. Different films resonate on different levels for each person. When we financed If These Walls Could Talk, it resonated with anyone going through an Abortion. The film Savior, appealed to people that had family in the Bosnia/Serbian war or anyone that served in a war torn country, and Traffic hit a cord with people interested in the drug trade. We will soon be doing something on Ellis Island to bring awareness to that place and the obvious topic of immigration, which is on everyone's mind.
What is your favorite part about production?
My favorite part of production is finding a story that you just can't wait to
tell, developing the script until you get it right, and then bringing it to life.It's amazing to see what you read on the page, imagine in your mind finally come to life with the right director, actors and production.
What has been the most shocking thing you’ve experienced during your career?
That's hard to say... A lot of my friends have been affected on both sides by this Me Too movement and I personally have had some of my own experiences. Nothing shocks me anymore.
Is there anything you would have done differently throughout your career?
Yes, I would have had more of a balance in my life. When I started my first company, it was all or nothing to me. I worked for 5 years without a single vacation and made my love life come second. I was with a very understanding man for years, until he couldn't take it any more.
The older I get, my priorities tell me that I will never do that again. This time around, I am keeping a definite balance.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Travel. I live to travel.
I try to go to two different countries a year and spend enough time to really experience the culture and the people.
I also love charity. I find a sense of purpose in giving back.
Do you have any passion projects you are currently working on?
All of my projects are my passion projects, but I have two favorite projects coming up. The first is Ellis Island. I had family that came through there so it is near and dear to my heart. The second film that I adore is with Lance Bass from 'NSync -- and that will take me back into my first love, music.
Any future projects you would like to share with us?
I wish I could but we can't really talk about them until they are announced.
I am doing a film with Sony Screen Gems though, based on the first exorcism ever aired on TV, and what it did to the family that lived in this house once the cameras were gone. I love this genre, especially when it is based on true stories.
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