Paul Cohen

Executive Director of The Torchlight Program; Filmmaker in Residence
(888) 644-7728

Paul Cohen is an independent motion picture executive who has created a number of successful distribution and production companies including Analysis Films, Masada Productions, Moonbeam Productions, and Aries Films. He has acquired and marketed a wide range of successful films often recognized as cinematic gems and contemporary classics. These include Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant, starring Harvey Keitel, Mephisto, the 1981 Academy Award-winner for Best Foreign Language Film, My Brilliant Career directed by first-timer Gillian Armstrong and starring Judy Davis and Sam Neill, The Chosen starring Maximilian Schell, and Luchino Visconti’s The Innocent.

As former CEO/President and co-founder of Manhattan Pictures International (MPI) in 2001, some of Mr. Cohen’s notable releases include Enigma, written by Oscar nominated Tom Stoppard and directed by Michael Apted, starring Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott, Jean-Luc Godard’s critically acclaimed In Praise of Love (Eloge de L’Amour) and Alan Rudolph’s The Secret Lives of Dentists, starring Campbell Scott and Hope Davis.

More recently, Cohen released Off the Map, starring Joan Allen and Sam Elliott. Off the Map received positive critical recognition as the opening night film of the prestigious Semaine Internationale de la Critique at the Cannes International Film Festival as well as a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Mr. Cohen’s motion picture selections over the years have garnered Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe, a Spirit Award, Italy’s Donatello and France's Cesar, as well as other award recognitions for their quality. His cinema acquisitions have played in film festivals across the country and around the world. Additionally, Paul Cohen has served in the capacity of Executive Producer on a number of independent productions.

Mr. Cohen was drawn to the State of Florida in the mid nineties where a sudden increase in motion picture production had just begun to take place. He was appointed by Gov. Lawton Chiles to promote independent motion picture production in the state and was instrumental in founding the first Florida Film Forum. In 1996, Mr. Cohen co-founded, and oversaw the marketing and operation of the First Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival. Additionally, Paul Cohen served as a Filmmaker in Residence at the Graduate Film Conservatory at Florida State University, and regularly lectured at the University of Miami, Dade Community College, as well as other major Florida universities.

In 1997, Mr. Cohen and Carl Icahn formed Stratosphere Entertainment, a motion picture distribution and production company based in New York. As President of Stratosphere, Mr. Cohen was responsible for the acquisition, marketing and distribution of independent motion pictures including The Thief, the 1997 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

A graduate of Hofstra University, Mr. Cohen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He has also completed postgraduate coursework at the Jungian Institute in New York and graduate work at the New School for Social Research. He has served as a member of the Executive Board of Directors of the Louis B. Wolfson Film & Television Archives as well as on the Academic Advisory Committee at Miami-Dade Community College.

He also served as President of the prestigious Independent Feature Project South (IFP/South), and has lectured on motion picture distribution at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, Columbia University, New York University’s Graduate Film School, and the Sundance Institute’s Producers Conference in Utah, where he traveled to lecture to industry members in locations such as Mexico and Jerusalem.

Mr. Cohen has served as a consultant to Showtime Networks Independent Film Initiative as well as other independent production companies. He served on the jury and board of numerous film festivals including the Chicago, Bermuda, Sunfest in Puerto Rico, Ft. Lauderdale, the South Beach Independent Film Festival, and is currently on the Hamptons International Film Festival advisory board, and most recently a consultant to the Tallahassee Film Festival.

Paul Cohen serves as the Executive Director of The Torchlight Program, which was established by the College to enhance the education of students through instruction in current and emerging business practices of the motion picture industry.