“There’s something almost transformational about getting up and telling a story in front of people. Everybody has something they’ve gone through that celebrates why we’re human, and when people share like that, it enriches all of us.” Robin Cowie’s goal is to bring that enrichment and entertainment of storytelling to Orlando through his new monthly venture, the Orlando Story Club.
Telling stories has always been a passion in Cowie’s life, from producing movies like The Blair Witch Project to his current media company, Indaba. “I’m pretty obsessed with the whole ‘true story’ aspect of things. Or, the embellishment of truth, you know? No matter what, when you tell a story, it ends up becoming a little altered.”
Sharing stories was in his blood from an early age. “My father was a documentary film maker in South Africa, so I traveled with him all throughout the country. We came to Atlanta when I was 15, and I knew then that I wanted to be a filmmaker.”
Since studying film at UCF, his diverse career has seen him move from Nickelodeon (working on shows like Clarissa Explains it All), to launching the Golf Channel, and finally into the horror movie field with his first hit, The Blair Witch Project. He has since produced seven feature films and two TV series. “I’m normally the guy who finds materials, puts financing together, and puts the team together. First man in, last man out.”
His latest cinematic project is Exists, a Bigfoot horror-adventure movie premiering at SXSW next month. “It’s the first time I’ve gone back with Ed Sánchez [writer of The Blair Witch Project] and done a first-person experience. But it’s really fun, it’s like a rollercoaster. It’s intense; it starts and it does not stop.”
Although it was his mother’s illness that originally brought him back to Orlando from LA, he’s excited about what the city has to offer. “I think Orlando right now is really interesting. Orlando used to be the place where people talked about a lot of stuff. But now, there are a lot of people who are making stuff. There’s an energy here that’s really exciting.”
“There are a ton of incredible things going on here. I want to make cool stuff here; this is my home now.” Cowie’s hope is that the intimate, comfortable environment of the Orlando Story Club will get people to not only come to listen, but also to tell their own stories. “Anybody can show up who has a story. [In the future], we want to move the venue, mix it up, to get different flavors of people and different settings.”
Don't miss the first Orlando Story Club this Saturday, March 1st, from 7:00 to 9:00pm at East End Market and follow them on Facebook for regular updates on upcoming events.