Producer Lars Knudsen is joining forces with Pulse Films as the outfit’s movie and high-end TV plans shift up a gear. The producer partnership sees Knusden reunited with Pulse founder Thomas Benski and managing director, film and scripted television, Lucas Ochoa after the trio worked together on “American Honey.”
Knudsen’s upcoming films “A Vigilante” and “City of Alex” will come under the Pulse umbrella. Knudsen, formerly of Parts & Labor, is also working up new projects with “The Witch” helmer Robert Eggers and Ari Aster, who directed “Hereditary,” a buzz title at Sundance. Knudsen produced both “The Witch” and “Hereditary,” which fall under the Pulse production pact.
“What characterizes us is a commitment to producers, and it was natural to partner with Lars. who is one of the best independent producers out there, to complement what Lucas and I are doing,” Benski told Variety. “As we are building out a film push, having someone like Lars in the fold helps elevate the projects we go after, validate our approach, and practically speaking, improve our ability to make films that make a difference.”
“The next phase for me was about expanding what I can offer filmmakers,” Knudsen said. “Now I have the resources to produce for filmmakers that excite me and to develop my own material and be more entrepreneurial in the process.”
He has worked up a slate over the past year, and these will be Pulse projects. “What we want to do is grow into much bigger movies,” Knudsen said. “Ari and I are going to continue working together, and there is a lot of stuff in the future we are looking to do. I’m developing stuff with Robert Eggers too. I feel they are two of the most exciting filmmakers out there today.”
Tory Lenoski has joined Knusden at Pulse and is producing “City of Alex,” which will be helmed by Brazil’s Fellipe Barbosa and shoot this summer. “A Vigilante,” which stars Olivia Wilde, will bow at South by Southwest.
Pulse has made a number of recent film and TV moves. It had Jaden Smith-starrer “Skate Kitchen” at Sundance and in TV has “Gangs of London,” for HBO and Sky, and Greg Burke drama “Atomic Bazaar” in development. It also does access-driven documentaries such as “XY Chelsea” and has New York music scene film “Meet Me in the Bathroom” in the works. Ochoa is shepherding much of the TV output, but like Benski works on both big- and small-screen projects. Similarly, while Knudsen is known as a film producer, he also has ambitions in TV.
At Sundance, Pulse unveiled a partnership with Access Industries’ AI Film on a new production fund. Together with AI’s Ben Giladi, Pulse will aim for two movies a year with budgets between $2 million and $6 million, and up to eight films in all, Benski said.
“We want to be a destination for talent, and to do that there are three components: taste, producer capacity, meaning the ability to make stuff, and resources, meaning money and scale. I think we are bringing those to the projects that we have,” Benski said.