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Sundance: Pulse, AI Film Partner to Launch New Film Fund Backed by Len Blavatnik

Global content studio Pulse has partnered with Access Industries’ AI Film to launch new production fund PulsexAI with financing underwritten by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.

The new fund was announced Wednesday, a day before the opening of the Sundance Film Festival, by Pulse CEO Thomas Benski, producer Lars Knudsen and AI Film’s Ben Giladi. The trio plan to create a full-service one-stop shop to develop, produce and fully finance two to three films annually with budgets up to $6 million in an atmosphere supporting “dynamic, provocative and timely” storytelling across all genres.

The trio did not disclose any specific projects. “The simple and supportive financing structure will offer a safe haven for filmmaking talent who want to challenge the medium by making urgent content that embraces diversity and evokes visceral reactions from its audiences,” the announcement said.

Access Industries was founded in 1986 by Blavatnik. The company’s entertainment portfolio includes holding and ownership of companies like Warner Music Group, AI Film, Deezer, Preform and RGE Group. It had owned a stake in Brett Ratner’s RatPac but no longer does so.

“We will have an appetite for risk, and will support our auteurs and their original voices through our ability to fully finance and bring our in-house resources and experience, shielding the project from the pressures of the current complicated marketplace,” Benski said. “Cinema is made of exceptions and we wanted to create a financing solution that truly reflects this.”

Giladi said, “It’s undeniable that the industry is undergoing a serious cultural, generational and economical change at the moment. We perceive this change as a blessed opportunity to bring back true power and focus to exceptional and bold directorial talents. I’m thrilled to team up with Thomas and Lars, with whom I share a deep creative understanding, to establish this new safe haven for the next generation of cinematic auteurs.”

Pulse’s “Skate Kitchen,” directed by Crystal Moselle, is premiering in the Next section at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Pulse recently announced the push into scripted TV led by Lucas Ochoa with “Gangs of London,” helmed by Gareth Evans, for Sky Atlantic, Cinemax and HBO and “Atomic Bazaar,” directed by Gregory Burke. Other recent Pulse projects include Andrea Arnold’s Cannes Jury Prize winner “American Honey,” “The Witch,” Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and CNN Films’ “Trophy.”

AI is at Sundance with Bart Layton’s heist thriller “American Animals,” which will premiere in the US Dramatic Competition later this week. AI is also a producer on “I, Tonya.”

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