By Al Carlos Hernandez
If you haven’t heard the name Gino Cabanas, you will. He is an up and coming film, television, and music producer who just signed a $60 million deal.
Gino started his career 20 years ago as an actor on the TV series Miami Vice, he often times played the thug. This type of ethnic typecasting caused him to turn his back on the TV industry dismayed by didactic and pejorative racial profiling.
A second generation Cuban, Italian American, he grew up in a multi-ethnic environment in South Florida. He played Little League amidst the homemade sounds of Santana supported by an eclectic group of loving family and friends.
He, like many of us second generation Latinos, is first and foremost American. He says “We should be treated as such without bias or stigma. Sadly TV is often times in the business of labeling people. This can impede their progress.”
Cabanas says the trick to making it in Hollywood is to work hard, be honest, and learn everyone’s job. When he started out as an actor, he realized that you had to cut your own path, and there are no short cuts.
He learned writing directing, producing, investing, and finance and now controls his own destiny by producing media “focusing on good stories that illuminate the human condition, ideally, stories that educate, entertain and enlighten.”
Cabanas and his Vine entertainment has an ambitious 2007 planned. They have 6 feature films on tap, a new music division that did a showcase recently with their first band Ambrose, which rocked the house at LA’s Key Club. The gig was hosted by Kiss front man and media mogul TV star in his own right, Gene Simmons.
Gino believes that his acting background does help him in his role as a hands on CEO. He is fluid in changing hats, multi-tasking and assuming various responsibilities.
A key to his success is his on going study of the giants in the business, his role models being Desi Arnez who virtually invented the TV sitcom as we know it and Walt Disney. Both of these men broke the mold as to charting a new path in attaining their visions.
Gino and the Vine has recently branched out and staged the David Hare’s psycho erotic play, The Blue Room running at the Edgemar Center in Santa Monica, to impressive reviews.
Growing up in a multi racial community gives Gino a particular insight into this post ethnic hip hop colored society. He said, “I can relate to people who have struggled to find their place in Hollywood. I believe that Brown is indeed the new Green; Brown/Latino/Hispanic people like to be entertained and prefer to see real stories told. I have positioned my company, the Vine is here to bridge the gap.”
The Vine’s first entertainment feature produced and directed by Cabanas is entitled, Stand by Your Man, starring Amanda Brooks, Thomas Nichols and Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway. Gino is also slated to produce and direct Silver, a thriller in the vein of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, which is in pre-production.
There is no question that after 20 years of paying dues and learning the game, Gino Cabanas and his company The Vine is in the midst of doing big things.
Gino Cabanas has some advice for those starting out, pursuing a dream, “Do not follow the tried and true path. Blaze a new trail and let others follow you!”