Israeli Film Mogul Invests in Georgia
By Oz Online | Published on November 20, 2019

Adi Cohen and Mark Damon are investing $150 million in post-production film-making in Georgia.

Georgia’s multibillion-dollar movie industry is in for another infusion of confidence, jobs, and bottom-line enhancement. Jerusalem-born Adi Cohen, now of New York, and co-principal Mark Damon of Los Angeles, plan to invest $150 million in the post-production phase, including editing, special effects, music and sound.

From his vacation home in Barcelona, Cohen told the AJT, “We chose Georgia because of the tax credit {the highest in the U.S.] but Georgia was missing the last part in the process. In the past, the filming was done here, but then left for LA to finish the job,” he said. “All of this was escaping Georgia. I would state that this is 15 to 25 percent of the production budget, which should not be leaving the state. Think also of the additional jobs that will anchor here.”

Note that post-production jobs are longer term than those of specific films, which can last only weeks or months. Cohen’s funds are earmarked for independent films that are nearing completion and in Georgia only.

Cohen’s background includes three years in Israel Defense Forces’ combat and computer science units. Some studies were done in London and some at Hebrew University. Against his father’s advice, Cohen dropped out of college because he felt he already knew his niche: high tech, stock market and finance. He started and ran his first company from Manhattan, but then went back to Israel. “I promised my father that I would complete a degree and wanted to honor that. So I did go back to complete that.”

Cohen’s venture is through DCR Finance and the Atlanta wing of Go Media Productions.

On Oct. 3 the Atlanta Business Chronicle announced the formation of Uppercut, Cohen’s New York post-production studio, expanding into a facility on the Westside. That followed an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about the newest investment, stating that “DCR’s Go Media … could help establish infrastructure and expertise in a segment of the industry that’s lacking in this state.”

Co-principal Damon has a 60-year reputation as one of the leading producers in the industry and has won two Oscars. According to Cohen, “Damon has a record of tremendous box office success in such films as ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘Top Gun.’…We have a terrific movie coming out in January 2020, ‘The Last Full Measure’ with Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Fonda {recently deceased} and Diane Ladd.”

Cohen is also a hero in that he eschewed naysayers about not executing this investment based on pressure to boycott Georgia because of the state’s House Bill 481 “heartbeat abortion bill” passed earlier this year. It is currently on hold and likely not to become reality. Cohen chose to sidestep the issue by saying, “Although I can respect the opinions of others, I do not mix business and politics. It doesn’t work anyway, and I am not intimidated. I go by what makes business sense.” Other states like California are trying to poach business away from Georgia to take advantage of this political hot potato. Amazon Studios cancelled productions here; others are taking a “wait and see” approach.

Perhaps an Israeli like Cohen, who has been exposed to the negativity of the BDS movement, would best be sensitive to boycotting of this nature.

Cohen speaks five languages including the classics like Greek and Latin and is an avid jogger and swimmer. When asked to give voice to his talent, he mused, “I can identify opportunities and act. I believe that all parties should benefit when doing business in a win-win culture,” Cohen said. “The bottom line is the production is already here in Georgia, why not stay and complete the job?”

Adi Cohen spoke Oct 26 at an event sponsored by the Georgia Film Commission entitled “How to Protect your Greenlit.”

Read the original article on Atlanta Jewish Times, here.


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