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Pulse Films founders Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford exit after 16 years

Pulse Films is behind Gangs of London for Sky and AMC

Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford, founders and CEOs of London-headquartered Pulse Films, are stepping down after 16 years.

Their departure comes six years after the pair, who founded Pulse Films in 2005, sold a controlling interest to Vice Media Group.

Thomas Benski

Vice Media said it has now completed that acquisition and Benski and Clifford have decided to step down at Pulse, which made its name as a film producer before moving into television in recent years with shows such as Gangs of London for Sky and AMC.

With the completion of the acquisition, Pulse Films will now come under Vice Media’s broader portfolio of businesses, although the company will “continue as a distinct and independent brand.”

Pulse Films, which has outposts in LA, New York, Paris, Berlin and Milan, will now be run by Davud Karbassioun, global president, commercials and entertainment; Diene Petterle, global creative director of non-fiction; and Jamie Hall, chief operating officer, scripted.

All three will report to Vice Studios president Kate Ward. James Sorton will continue as MD and executive producer, commercials and music videos.

Following her departure, Benski will continue working with Pulse to executive produce and coproduce future and existing projects, including Gangs of London and Olivia Wilde-directed feature Perfect.

Recent and upcoming projects for Pulse Films in 2022 include its Grammy-nominated Lewis Capaldi documentary, season two of Gangs of London and its documentary Meet Me In The Bathroom, which premiered at Sundance in January.

Marisa Clifford

On his departure, Benski said: “Leaving Pulse Films is, for us, a watershed moment. When we launched Pulse Films 16 years ago, our ambitious goal was to create a welcoming home for the most creative talent in front of and behind the camera, and to make elevated, indelible work for a global audience and we are so proud to have done so with the help of the most gifted team of professionals and partners imaginable.”

Clifford added: “When Thomas and I first founded Pulse, never could I have envisioned all that we would go on to create together, the stories we would tell, the relationships we would build. We’re profoundly thankful to our Pulse family who are the greatest of people, and to the Vice Media Group for believing in our incredible team. We wish Vice Media Group and the entire Pulse family the best of luck and look forward to great collaborations in the future.”

Pulse Films’ other credits under Benski and Clifford include The Beastie Boys Story, American Honey, Mogul Mowgli, 20,000 Days on Earth, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann and Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator.

“2022 is set to be Pulse’s biggest year ever, and I look forward to working with the outstanding Pulse leadership and wider team as they continue to shape the future of visual storytelling,” added Ward.


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