“We sat through it twice, and I was never the same. It was a big screen, I was a little kid, and it opened my eyes in more ways than one.”Growing up during the heyday of television, Cohen spent his viewing time watching movies, such as the classics shown on WOR’s “Million Dollar Movie” and NBC’s “Saturday Night at the Movies.”“I parked myself in my flannel pajamas on a Saturday night and I watched ‘The Birds’ or I watched ‘Vertigo.’ I watched whatever they were showing and I was just riveted,” Cohen said. Cohen’s adoration for film began in New York when he was 3.“My grandmother took me to see Walt Disney’s ‘Cinderella,’ ” Cohen said. It just fascinated me.
Charles Cohen has a deep passion for film.The real estate developer, film producer and president and CEO of Cohen Media Group oversees the Cohen Film Collection, which boasts more than 700 titles, encompassing documentaries, musicals, comedies, animation, dramas and avant-garde works.His company is devoted to restoring movies and re-releasing them in cinemas and on Blu-ray and DVD. 27 and airing each Friday night through March 31. To further share his treasures with the public, Cohen has created “Cohen Film Classics,” a series of 10 movies that will air on KCET and Link TV starting Jan. As each film is shown, it will also be made available online for seven days.
He feels that he is the steward of these movies and, “on his watch,” the right thing to do is give people access to them. “It was in my DNA.”Movies are meant to be sharedToday, Cohen is devoted to collecting art films and rare films because he wants them available for generations to come. He would also take the train to a bookstore in Manhattan that specialized in books on movies, from the history of film to editing and music scoring. Inspired to learn more about film, Cohen absorbed any books available at his school and town libraries. And at 14, Cohen began reading Variety magazine so he could get the scoop on the movie reviews.“I was the first guy in line when a movie would open on Friday,” he said.
The historic period piece, “Fire Over England,” is the first film that Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh were together in, and the French-British biographical movie “The Lady” stars Michelle Yeoh in an exploration of politician and author Aung San Suu Kyi’s life as she became involved in Burma’s democracy movement. It’s not about keeping them secret.”For “Cohen Film Classics,” Cohen selected films that would highlight the eclectic range of works in his collection. For example, Chuck Workman’s documentary “What is Cinema?” offers a looks into the heart of film that includes conversations with directors who are rarely interviewed. “I wanted to share my love and passion for these wonderfully restored films with everybody,” he said. “That’s what this is about.