Film Financing with NYU Tisch West
An event in support of The Writers Guild Foundation.
About This Event
- Joseph N. Cohen - President, American Entertainment Investors
- Allison Hironaka - Media Finance Group, CAA
- Dani Melia - Head of Development, Big Beach Films
- Pip Ngo - Director of Sales and Acquisitions, XYZ Films
- John Zois - Head of Worldwide Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Global Road
Location / Venue
- Writers Guild Foundation
- 7000 West 3rd Street
- Los Angeles, CA 90048
- Feb 28, 2018 07:30 pm to
- Feb 28, 2018 09:00 pm
Event to Support The Writers Guild Foundation
Founded in 1966, the Writers Guild Foundation is the premier resource for emerging writers and movie and TV lovers in Hollywood. Boasting a busy calendar of high-value events and a vast, seemingly bottomless toolbox for writers, the Foundation is unmatched in its mission to promote and preserve the craft, history, and voices of screen storytelling. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we’re proud of all we do for the community, including our Veterans Writing Project, our Volunteer and Mentorship Programs, our Archive, and the Shavelson-Webb Library – the world’s only library devoted entirely to writing for the screen.
Joseph N. Cohen — President, American EntertainmentInvestors
A graduate of Yale and Oxford, Joseph N. Cohen is thePresident of American Entertainment Investors and is active in motion picture, television and other media financing throughout the world. Prior to becoming President and Chief Operating Officer of Largo Entertainment in 1989, followed by co-chairmanship of Intermedia/Film Equities in 1994, Cohen held senior positions at several of the leading investment banking firms, including N.M.Rothschild & Sons, Salomon Brothers, Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, Orion RoyalBank and Samuel Montagu. Cohen’s involvement in the motion picture industry began in the UK in 1980, where he pioneered the use of tax-based lease financing for feature films. Cohen also founded Canadian Entertainment Investors (C.E.I.), which pioneered the use of public limited partnership offerings to finance Canadian-qualified productions.
During his 4-year tenure as President and COO of LargoEntertainment, the joint venture between JVC/Victor Company of Japan Ltd. and Hollywood producer Lawrence Gordon, Largo produced several major box office hits including POINT BREAK, TIMECOP and MALCOLM X. Cohen was also instrumental in the creation of Alcon Entertainment, an independent production company established by Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and Founder of FedEx, as well as River Road Entertainment, founded by Bill Pohlad, and was involved in structuring the financing of P.S. I Love You, Book of Eli, The Blindside, Tree of Life, Brokeback Mountain and 12 Years A Slave, among several others. From 2006 to 2010, Cohen co-managed EF Solutions LLC, which invested in a broad range of project financings for the film and television industries, including providing mezzanine financing for the 2008 Academy-Award winning film The Hurt Locker. Cohen also served on the Board of Exclusive Media Group, which produced several acclaimed films including Ides of March and End of Watch. In 2010, AEI advised Goldman Sachs and Assured Guaranty, the primary creditors of the Weinstein Company, on a restructuring of the company. AEI now serves as the Administrator of Portfolio Funding Company, LLC, which owns the pre-2011 Weinstein Company library.
AEI advises a number of the leading independent production companies, including Black Label Media, which produced and co-financed several high profile films, including Sicario, La LaLand and 12 Strong. In 2016 AEI joined forces on the buy side with Narrative Capital, LLC, based in New York, which is a private equity firm specializing in debt and equity investments in the media space, including film, television, music, digital, video games, publishing and branding. Cohen serves as co-managing partner of Narrative alongside founder Daniel Levin.
Cohen recently published Investing in Movies: Strategies for Investors and Producers, which was designed to provide an analytical framework to assess the opportunities and pitfalls of investing in the film industry. Cohen is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences and was adjunct professor in The Peter Stark Producing Program in the University of Southern California Graduate School of Cinema/Television for sixteen years.
Allison Hironaka - Media Finance Group, CAA
Allison Hironaka works within the Media Finance Group at a leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Hironaka is based in the Los Angeles office and, alongside her team, has worked on the packaging and sales of many of the most critically-acclaimed and commercially-successful independently financed films, including PHANTOM THREAD; I, TONYA; THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI;JACKIE; and the upcoming AD ASTRA, among others.
Hironaka began her career at Paradigm Talent Agency. She joined CAA in 2014.
Hironaka graduated from the School of Business at Queen’s University at Kingston with a FirstClass Honours degree in Commerce. She is from Calgary, Alberta, and worked in natural resource extraction as a political risk analyst prior to her career in entertainment.
Dani Melia — Head of Development, Big Beach
Dani Melia is the head of development in the LosAngeles office of Big Beach, a New York-based company that produces and finances independent films, television and theater. She most recently executive produced PUZZLE, which premiered at Sundance 2018 and was acquired by SonyPictures Classics. Other credits include Jeff Nichols’ LOVING, Gaby Dellal’s THREE GENERATIONS, Max Landis’ ME HIM HER, Colin Trevorrow’s SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, and Jordan Vogt Roberts’ THE KINGS OF SUMMER. Dani started her career at Big Beach as a producer’s assistant on films including AWAY WE GO, JACK GOES BOATING, OUR IDIOT BROTHER, SUNSHINE CLEANING and Jeffrey Blitz’s documentary, LUCKY. Dani received a BFA in film production from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2007.
Pip Ngo — Director of Sales and Acquisitions, XYZ Films
Pip Ngo is the Director of Sales and Acquisitions forXYZ Films. An entertainment executive with ten years experience in film, TV, and theater, Pip started his career working for prominent Broadway producer Carole Shorenstein Hays on the Tony Award-winning revival of FENCES. After working out of the New York office of CAA's Film Finance Group, he moved to Los Angeles to work in acquisitions and development for Sierra/Affinity. Pip transitioned into the technology space with theatrical distribution startup Tugg, where he expanded the platform's acquisitions activities in the domestic film market. Most recently, he served as a Senior Manager with Vimeo's content team, representing their interests in the indie film marketplace for their planned SVOD service. Pip is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
John Zois — Head of Worldwide Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Global Road
John Zois joined IM Global in 2016 and was promoted to Head of Worldwide Acquisitions & Co-Productions in October 2017 after the company became Global Road Entertainment. In his role he is responsible for acquiring projects for Finance/Production, US Distribution, China Distribution and International Sales.
Prior to joining IM Global, Zois was at Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, where he helped to create a worldwide acquisitions division and was instrumental in acquiring films for distribution in the U.S. and France. Notable projects include John Madden’s MISS SLOANE starring Jessica Chastain as well as Shane Black’s THE NICE GUYS for French distribution, among others. Prior to joining EuropaCorp, Zois worked at FilmNation Entertainment across both acquisitions and sales divisions. Notable projects include: ROOM, AMOST VIOLENT YEAR, LOOPER, SIDE EFFECTS and LAWLESS.
Zois began his career at AMC Theatres and the Gersh Agency and is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Andra Gordon — Vice President of Development, American Entertainment Investors
Vice President of Development for American Entertainment Investors, Gordon oversees creative and business development for the company. During her time at AEI, the company was involved in the financing of several commercially successful and acclaimed films, including 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY, LA LA LAND, ONLY THE BRAVE, 12 STRONG and upcoming HOTEL MUMBAI, among others. Gordon is also producing several projects, including a feature adaptation of a novel by bestselling author Dave Eggers, shooting this summer. She recently executive produced THE OTHER HALF, starring Emmy-winner Tatiana Maslany. Prior to joining AEI, Gordon worked for Artists Public Domain and Verisimilitude in New York, credited on the films ANOTHER EARTH (Fox Searchlight 2011), TERRI (ATO Pictures 2011), and THE PUBLIC IMAGE IS ROTTEN. She also worked in publicity for the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Denver Film Festival, as well as the education department for Film Independent, writing case studies on indie finance and distribution success stories, published and distributed at the Film Independent Forum. She has a Master’s in Cinema Studies from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she received a full scholarship and Research Assistantship and currently sits on the NYU Tisch council. She attended Northwestern University and CU-Boulder for undergrad, graduating summa cum laude with a BA in English and was the recipient of the Eaton Award.