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

The longtime partners and friends founded Pulse Films in 2005, and sold a controlling interest in Pulse to VICE Media Group in 2016.

Vice Media Group have now completed that acquisition and Benski and Clifford have subsequently decided to transition out of Pulse.

Benski will continue to work with Pulse in a partnership 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 a distinct and independent brand, but will now join the portfolio of businesses as part of VICE STUDIOS; the global tv and film division of VICE led by Kate Ward, President of Vice Studios. The business will be operated by the executive team; 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,”  seminal music documentaries “20,000 Days on Earth,” “Shut Up and Play the Hits” and Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” and record-breaking documentaries “The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann,” “Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator” and “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.”

Pulse has won numerous Emmy, BAFTA, Grammy, Cannes, Sundance and Cannes Lions awards. In 2021, Pulse was awarded Campaign Magazine’s Production Company of the Year and the British Arrows award for Production Company of the Year as well as Commercial of the Year.

2022 will see Pulse release projects including upcoming Grammy-nominated Lewis Capaldi documentary, Gangs of London Season 2 on SKY and AMC, Sundance-selected documentary Meet Me In The Bathroom and Director Ninian Doff’s music video, “Out of Sight” for Run The Jewels ft. 2 Chainz, selected as part of the SXSW2022.

Thomas 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.”

Marisa 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.”

Kate Ward, President, VICE Studios 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. 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.”

Nancy Dubuc, CEO, VICE Media Group: “We are grateful to Thomas and Marisa for their enormous contributions and with Kate and the world-class executive team in place, the legacy that the founders built will ensure that Pulse grows to new heights.”


Jon Creamer

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