Cynthia Litman is a Co-founder of the Spiritual Cinema Circle, blogger at mommaspearls.blogspot.com and an entertainment lawyer with a niche in spiritual entertainment and social enterprises.
I had the pleasure of interviewing her today about her background and professional experiences. In our in-depth conversation, Cynthia shared with me what it was like working as a lawyer for New Line Cinema when they released “The Lord of The Rings,” the challenges and rewards of being the legal department for The Spiritual Cinema Circle and “Conversations with God” movie and also gave some thoughtful advice for aspiring lawyers, writers, filmmakers and promoters who are interested in having a career in spiritual entertainment.
You can listen to our entire interview on iTunes by clicking the link below:
You can also read some of the highlights from our interview copied below.
Matt: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? How did you become an entertainment lawyer with a niche in spiritual entertainment?
Cynthia: I always knew from a very young age when my parents first took me to the movies and I saw “The Color Purple.” I had a really deep and profound effect from that film. It was my first real emotional experience I had in watching a film. And, I walked out of there knowing that I would be working in the entertainment medium not knowing exactly which direction that would take me, but I just kept following that lead…
In college…I was taking legal study classes at the time and doing well in them…I love the whole space of putting together entertainment and law. I just knew going into law school, when I applied, that was what I was going to focus on. In law school, I tried to take as many entertainment related classes as possible like copyright, publishing law and entertainment law which is all about entertainment contracts.
I wound up working with an entertainment lawyer through law school. It was an amazing experience because he was a solo practitioner and produced his own films. I got to have my hands on doing the production work as well as the legal work for the productions and the distribution for his films.
When I graduated law school, I began working at New Line Cinema…It was at the time they were gearing up for “The Lord of The Rings” films to come out. So I was thrown into doing merchandising and licensing deals for trademark issues…New Line gave me such a great insight into what it takes to run a production company.
I worked at New Line for about four years and in my fourth year, I came across an ad that said “Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives” (for a lecture) that was being given by Stephen Simon. It was the first time it really clicked for me there was a space for mystical movies. I went to the lecture and talked to Stephen afterwards and he (invited) me to go on his telecall for people interested in getting more involved with spiritual cinema. I went on the call and really clicked with Stephen and became his personal attorney…Through that we got to do such projects such as “Indigo.” That was my first exposure to the larger world of spiritual luminaries. It was the first time I was working in that space as partners…
Stephen’s good friend is Dr. Gay Hendricks…and (Gay) came up with the idea of doing the DVD of the month club for spiritual film. It was Stephen, myself, Gay, Katie (Hendricks) and Arielle Ford..who basically got together to form the Spiritual Cinema Circle. And, from there, my whole career and purpose came into alignment in that I knew that if I am going to be working in entertainment or at all in law, I really wanted to work in the space that was creating positive, inspiring films to put out into the world to help transform consciousness.
Matt: How has your interest in spirituality influenced the way you practice law?
Cynthia: That is a fair question…I will not say that it has been all easy. But, I try to keep myself aligned in the space that when I am doing business deals it really is to bridge people together for the greater good of whatever it is that they want to do.
Matt: Do you have any favorite projects or movies you have been able to work on?
Cynthia: Yeah, working on Spiritual Cinema Circle just in and of itself was such a feat for me…I had four years of experience working at New Line and just thrown into this environment coming from a department of business and legal professionals working on tasks together to basically being the only one handling all the legal issues (for Spiritual Cinema Circle). It really was a time for me to get over whatever fears or hesitations because I had to do it because people were depending on me and if I didn’t get my job done right and the contracts signed, we literally didn’t have a product to put out that month. So I worked very closely with both Stephen Simon and Anna Darrah, (director of acquisition for Spiritual Cinema Circle)….We just really worked to make sure that no film got held up because of the contract….
Through (Spiritual Cinema Circle) we were able to produce “Conversations with God” movie, which is the film based on Neale Donald Walsch’s series of books, which again I was the legal department for. I handled every bit of paperwork that had to be put in place for that film to be produced. That was extremely challenging and rewarding.
Matt: Can you talk a little bit more about “Conversations with God,” not just the legal side, but being a part of that project. What was that like to work with Neale and Stephen Simon?
Cynthia: It was really amazing…You really felt like the manifestation of what we were talking about for so long and what we were helping support other filmmakers do…And watching Stephen Simon in action was such a learning experience for me.
Matt: What is the best way for someone to get ahold of you?