Film and documentary production company White Horse Pictures said Tuesday it is moving forward with a strategic reorganization to service growth at the company whose recent titles include Lucy and Desi and the Ron Howard pics The Beatles: Eight Days a Week and Pavarotti.
As part of the changes, Nicholas Ferrall, the company’s current president, takes on the role of chairman and CEO, previously held by founder Nigel Sinclair, overseeing all aspects of the company’s business, growth, and development. Sinclair will transition to become the company’s non-executive chairman, maintaining a role in the business while focusing on content creation.
Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann, two partners at the firm, take the role of co presidents, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s creative content, production, and development.
White Horse also has entered into a partnership with longtime collaborator Ben Murphy, of Whiskey Bear, to oversee and streamline the company’s physical production process while continuing his involvement in creative development. Robert Dietz, a White Horse Pictures employee since 2018, takes the role of VP Production, managing day-to-day production and business development and reporting directly to the Executive Team.
The reorganization sees White Horse continuing its working relationships among senior management, who are supported by about 40 production and creative executives. The company’s new Executive Management Board consists of Ferrall, Elfant Festa and Hartmann, with Sinclair and Murphy attending as appropriate.
“It’s been an honor building White Horse with my partners these past eight years, and I relish the opportunity to expand my role ahead of this new phase of growth,” Ferrall said in a press release announcing the changes. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside Nigel and our fantastic executive team to continue producing high-quality films and documentaries.”
Elfant Festa and Hartmann added, “This is such an electric time in our industry, with so much opportunity for innovative and elevated storytelling. We’re excited to continue building on Nigel’s breadth of experience and incredible relationships and growing White Horse’s production operations while also maintaining our commitment to excellence on every one of our projects.”
Sinclair said, “This new management plan positions White Horse Pictures to expand upon nearly a decade of consistent growth. I look forward to being a part of this company’s next chapter, as a new generation of leaders creates first-rate content.”
White Horse Pictures’ recent releases have won Emmys three years in a row. These include the Amy Poehler-produced Lucy and Desi, the Frank Marshall-directed The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, and the Roger Ross Williams-directed The Apollo.
Previous White Horse projects include the Howard-directed documentaries The Beatles: Eight Days A Week and Pavarotti, along with the Oscar-shortlisted short film Refugee.
The company has an extensive slate of documentaries in production and post including Wilder, a feature documentary directed by acclaimed filmmaker Chris Smith on the iconic comedic actor Gene Wilder; Stax, a multiple-part series for HBO exploring legendary Memphis soul label Stax Records, directed by Emmy-nominated Jamila Wignot and executive produced by Academy Award winner Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow; Billy Preston, a feature doc from Emmy-winning writer-director Paris Barclay; and Shari & Lamb Chop, Emmy nominee Lisa D’Apolito’s feature doc about the legendary puppeteer and personality Shari Lewis. On the scripted side, the company is currently in post-production on the genre feature The Queen Mary, directed by Gary Shore and starring Alice Eve and Joel Fry.
Sinclair founded White Horse Pictures in 2014 alongside longtime business partner Guy East, after serving as CEO and co-chairman of Exclusive Media, a global film finance, production and distribution company. Prior to White Horse, Sinclair produced a series of documentary projects, including Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan; Foo Fighters: Back & Forth; the Grammy-nominated Amazing Journey: The Story Of The Who, and the Academy Award-winning Undefeated. Sinclair’s extensive scripted credits include The Ides of March, End of Watch, Snitch, The Woman In Black, Sliding Doors, Terminator 3, and The Quiet American.
Ferrall has served as president of White Horse Pictures since 2019, after being elevated from his previous role of Head of Production. He previously served as a VP at Exclusive Media. Ferrall is currently producing the upcoming Stax and Wilder, and his previous executive producer credits include The Beatles: Eight Days A Week, The Apollo, and Bee Gees. Ferrall is also producing the upcoming genre feature The Queen Mary.
Elfant Festa previously served as White Horse Pictures’ Head of Documentaries & Director of Features, overseeing the company’s documentary slate. She began working alongside Sinclair when Piper Cub Productions, her own production company, took a first-look deal with Exclusive Media, and the two combined to produce the Grammy-winning documentary Foo Fighters: Back & Forth. Elfant Festa also produced Lucy and Desi, The Bee Gees, The Apollo and Pavarotti.
Hartmann is a partner at White Horse, having previously held the role of Director of Documentary Features at Exclusive Media. She was a producer on The Apollo and an executive producer on The Bee Gees among other credits. Hartmann also serves as a contributing writer on most White Horse projects. Her upcoming producer credits include Wilder and Shari & Lamb Chop.
Murphy began his career at talent agencies WME and Gersh before transitioning to production, acquiring credits on Lucy and Desi, The Apollo and the upcoming sci-fi romantic comedy Molli and Max in the Future. In addition to his work with White Horse, Murphy is the president and owner of Whiskey Bear, and will continue to lead that creative production studio.
Dietz has served in various creative and production roles, with his recent credits including The Bee Gees, Pavarotti, and the upcoming Shari & Lamb Chop.