Pulse Films founders and CEOs Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford are stepping down after 16 years of leading the company.

The pair founded Pulse Films in 2005, and sold a controlling interest to Vice Media Group in 2016. Vice Media Group has now completed its acquisition and Benski and Clifford have subsequently decided to transition out of Pulse.


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Benski will continue to work with Pulse to executive produce and co-produce future and existing projects including Gangs of London and Olivia Wilde-directed feature Perfect.

Pulse Films will continue as an independent brand, but will now join the portfolio of businesses as part of Vice Studios, led by Kate Ward, President of Vice Studios.

The business will be operated by the executive team of Davud Karbassioun, Global President Commercials & Entertainment; Diene Petterle, Global Creative Director of Non-fiction, and Jamie Hall, COO, Scripted – who will report to Ward.

James Sorton will continue as Managing Director and Executive Producer, Commercials & Music Videos.

Under Benski and Clifford’s leadership, Pulse Films has grown into a major production company across film, television, commercials and music videos, including: Sky/AMC hit series Gangs of London, Emmy-nominated Beastie Boys Story, Cannes Film Festival winner American Honey, films such as Pig and Mogul Mowgli, music documentaries 20,000 Days on Earth, Shut Up and Play the Hits and Beyonce’s Lemonade, and documentaries The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, and Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.

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 said: “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.”

Ward said: “A huge thank you to Thomas and Marisa for everything they have done over the past 16 years – along with their team they have built Pulse films into one of the world’s leading creative businesses, celebrated for their work across genres and all forms of entertainment.”