Andre Gaines, founder of Cinemation Studios has been working in Hollywood for over 10 years and has financed and produced more than 12 documentary and narrative feature films that amplify the voices of Black creators in film and television. He is a man of many talents that provides a unique perspective on the importance of diversity and inclusion on and off the screen. His creativity and talents granted him opportunities to work in Hollywood as a producer, writer, and director alongside iconic creators and personalities such as Dick Gregory, Mark and Jay Duplass, Spike Lee, and more. We here at Sheen got a chance to catch up with the Hollywood executive where he talked about his latest projects here’s what he had to share in this exclusive.
Let’s talk about your journey as an African American executive working in film and television. So how did you get your start in the film industry?
I got started back when I was an undergrad at Northwestern University, I did a handful of plays and projects that helped start my career. Once I was in graduate school at NYU, Tisch School of the Arts, I went to film school, and right out of there started selling and producing animation and that’s when I started my company, which is Cinemation Studios. I mean, just kind of with anything else, or anyone else’s story, I think in the industry, you network, and you meet one person after the next and you sort of develop different projects and over the course of time, people start to recognize your work.
What has been your biggest challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?
You know, I think we sort of live in the business of challenges on a daily basis. It’s funny, as I remember, Cicely Tyson who has just passed away. We actually interviewed her for a film of mine about the comedian, Dick Gregory and got to know her, you know, quite well. I remember at one point, when we were interviewing her we had a miscommunication in regards to the production schedule and I was very apologetic to her about that and said, You know, I’m sorry for all the chaos and she said, Oh, honey, we work in the business of chaos. So it really is, it really is something I think that is a kind of an ongoing thing, but you sort of navigate your way through it.
Who inspires you in the film/television industry? How did they impact you as a writer and film director?
So many different filmmakers have inspired me Spike Lee is obviously at the top of the list of inspirational filmmakers. Martin Scorsese, both of them are alumni of my school at NYU.”Miloš” Forman is another filmmaker who made Amadeus one of my favorite films, back in the 80s and even still, to this day, actually one of my favorite plays, so he was inspiring as well. I get inspired by the work of so many of my peers daily. Sometimes you end up reading a script that somebody had written that you didn’t even realize was working on it and it really blows you away and that degree of inspiration is kind of an ongoing thing. Lee Daniels is another filmmaker. I really love his work to be able to look at those figures and you know, pattern some of your work after them so yeah, Reggie is also on that list. I shadowed Reggie, a very good friend of mine and I shadowed him as a director on his film safety for Disney plus, that recently came out so he’s a real inspiration as well.
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the near future in the film industry?
Yes, I would. You know, Lee Daniels definitely I want to work with one day . Ava DuVernay I would love to work with and collaborate with one day ,Dee Rees a peer of mine that also went to NYUwho made Mudbound she’s really amazing. So yeah, you know, the list is pretty vast, but it’s every one of those filmmakers they all have something unique to offer and they’re all on my bucket list for sure.
Where do you gather some of your inspiration from when creating content ?
That’s a really good question, I think that the interesting thing about inspiration is that it comes from so many different sources It’s an inorganic thing, really, it really happens at some of the most inopportune times. I mean, I might get some incredible inspiration from being in the shower, and don’t have any place to write it down. I think that it comes from many different kinds of sources and, places I’m definitely a student of history, I love history. I love reading about historical figures, I love reading about their experiences. It’s one of the reasons I got involved in the Dick Gregory project and lady in the Dale, you know inspiration comes from so many different sources. It’s hard to pinpoint any singular one.
What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career so far?
The lady and the Dale is probably the biggest opening of any project that I’ve had up to this point, and I’m very, very proud of that you know, it’s really one of the most collaborative experiences that I’ve had and the first television series that I’ve done it’s four parts on HBO, it’s one of the biggest and prestige premium cable networks out there it really turned out to be better than we could have imagined.
Tell us a little bit more about your latest project Lady and the Dale ? What can we look forward to?
Yeah, for sure the Lady and the Dale, as I mentioned episode four is going to be on HBO, this Sunday at 9pm Eastern and 6pm Pacific time and also available to HBO max subscribers and then, after that, for me is Stephen King children of the corn the reboot to that film, which was the first film that ever scared me when I was a kid back in the 80s when the opportunity came for me to be able to reboot the film, I guess I should say, I just really couldn’t turn it down. Even though it was right at the beginning of the pandemic, I have to give a lot of credit to our producer, Lucas Foster, who was able to help keep the things together so I’m excited about that the Dick Gregory documentary that I had been working on for about six years thats coming out this year. I have more projects on it’s way as well that I’m excited about but can’t speak on at the time .
Stay tuned for Gaines’ latest projects on the way!
Featured Image courtesy of Andre Gaines