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LUCY AND DESI Directed by Amy Poehler | Official Trailer / A legacy of One of the Most Prolific Power Couples in Entertainment History, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Presents 

AN
IMAGINE DOCUMENTARIES 

and 

WHITE HORSE PICTURES PRODUCTION 

IN ASSOCIATION WITH PAPER KITE PRODUCTIONS 

and DIAMOND DOCS 

LUCY AND DESI 

Directed by Amy Poehler
Produced by Michael Rosenberg, Justin Wilkes, Jeanne Elfant Festa, Nigel Sinclair, Amy Poehler and Mark Monroe
Running time: 1 hour and 42 minutes
Rating: PG 

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Directed by Amy Poehler

Written by Mark Monroe

Produced by Michael Rosenberg, Justin Wilkes, Jeanne Elfant Festa, Nigel Sinclair, Amy Poehler,

Mark Monroe

Featuring Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Bette Midler, Carol Burnett, Laura LaPlaca, Eduardo Machado, Charo, Journey Gunderson, Gregg Oppenheimer, David Daniels, Norman Lear, Desi Arnaz Jr.

From director Amy Poehler, Lucy and Desi explores the unlikely partnership and enduring legacy of one of the most prolific power couples in entertainment history. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz risked everything to be together. Their love for each other led to the most influential show in the history of television, I Love Lucy. Desi—an immigrant from Cuba who lost everything in exile, became a band leader, and eventually a brilliant producer and technical pioneer. Lucille came from nothing and, with an unrivaled work ethic, built a career as a model, chorus girl, and eventually as an actor in the studio system. She found her calling in comedy, first in radio. When Lucille was finally granted the opportunity to have her own television show, she insisted that her real-life spouse, Desi, be cast as her husband. Defying the odds, they re-invented the medium, on the screen and behind the cameras. The foundation of I Love Lucy was the constant rupture and repair of unconditional love. What Lucy and Desi couldn’t make work with each other, they gave to the rest of the world. Lucy and Desi is an insightful and intimate peek behind the curtain of these two remarkable trailblazers—featuring interviews with Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Norman Lear, Desi Arnaz Jr., Carol Burnett, and Bette Midler.

 

The (Back) Story of Their Lives 

Just days after Desi Arnaz passed away in December of 1986, Lucille Ball was honored at The Kennedy Center Honors. He had written a letter for her, special for the occasion, to be read aloud during the ceremony for all to hear. The final line: “I Love Lucy was never just a title.” 

LUCY AND DESI is the documentary debut of filmmaker, actress and comedian Amy Poehler, exploring the real-life world of the performers behind America’s most famous TV couple, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Despite coming from very different backgrounds, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz somehow found in each other a unique once-in-a-lifetime connection, off which they built not only one of the most popular series in television history, but a Hollywood empire that invented and inspired many of the common production practices still used in today’s global entertainment industry. 

Lucy spent her childhood in Jamestown, NY, raised by an authoritative mother and her loving grandfather. She left for New York as a teenager in 1928. First, she became a model, and eventually she made her way to Hollywood to become a Goldwyn Girl, and then onwards to years of work at RKO, becoming known as “The Queen of B Pictures,” for her roles in many smaller- scale movies. 

Desi was raised in wealth and privilege in Santiago de Cuba, his father the mayor, with intentions of his son becoming a lawyer or a doctor. But with the Cuban revolution in 1933, Desi’s family was chased from power and jailed, and a 14-year-old Desi sent to Miami. Having lost everything and starting from scratch, even cleaning canary cages, he soon discovered his skills as an entertainer. 

Through the mentorship he received by popular Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat, Desi became one of the most popular Latin artists in America at the time, famous now for introducing the Conga line to the USA. 

He and Lucy met on the set of the 1940 RKO musical comedy, Too Many Girls, and were married six months later. But through most of the 40s, they rarely saw each other, with Desi’s work with his band taking him on the road for much of the year. 

It wasn’t until 1948 when CBS decided to put Lucy on the radio, taking advantage of a rarely-tapped skill – her comedic talents – for a series called My Favorite Husband. When the network decided to bring both the show and Lucy to television, the actress took one of the first of many groundbreaking steps, insisting that her Latin real-life husband play her television one, bringing the first mixed-race couple to American television. 

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The two, along with the writing team from Lucy’s radio series, developed what became I Love Lucy in 1951, again breaking new ground in its production. The couple, which by then had a new family member, their daughter, Lucie, had no interest in producing the show in New York, as the network wanted, nor in sending low-quality kinescope copies of the show for broadcast on the West Coast. So, Desi created – a first – a production system of filming the show in front of a live audience with three film cameras, in a system crafted by legendary cinematographer Karl Freund (Metropolis, The Mummy), which delivered uniform quality prints for every time zone. Desi also arranged to own those prints, which ended up allowing for what became the creation of re-runs in television, along with their own solid vested interest in the show. 

When their real-life family was about to grow in 1953, the duo once again insisted on breaking the mold, allowing Lucy to be seen on camera pregnant, something which had never occurred on television. The “Little Ricky” birth episode of I Love Lucy became one of the most- seen episodes in television history. 

Their own real family life blossomed during these years, as seen in LUCY AND DESI via incredible, personal color home movies taken throughout this time, made available by Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill and the family Estate. The footage depicts the couple’s true life outside of the studio and the world of I Love Lucy, something rarely seen before now. 

Lucy and Desi formed their own studio, Desilu, to handle not only the production of their own show, but the development of others which came after – The Untouchables and Star Trek, to name just a few. But as Desi’s tasks shifted from making comedy with his wife to running a studio, the stresses that were introduced into their marriage – and the unhappiness it brought to Desi – eventually caused the couple to divorce in 1960, after the last Lucy show was filmed. 

Lucy went on to create her own series, The Lucy Show, not long after, and in 1962, bought out Desi’s share of Desilu, running the studio herself. She eventually found herself not enjoying the demanding life of being a studio executive, selling the company to Paramount in 1967. She created her last series, Here’s Lucy in 1968, which featured both her children as her onscreen kids. Both she and Desi found new people and remarried in the 60s, having long-term, happy marriages. Throughout this time, though, Desi remained in Lucy’s life, and her in his. As they embarked on a life-long friendship, Lucy often would call Desi to help her brainstorm on both of her later series. He would do what he always did best – ultimately, helping Lucy do what she always did best – which was to make us laugh, smile, and feel as one. 

The Making-Of LUCY AND DESI 

It is often hard to tell the story of how something is made, yet for a documentary that goes behind-the-scenes as much as LUCY AND DESI does, the making-of in this film’s case is straightforward: it began with a team of talented producers finding the right director. Producers Michael Rosenberg and Justin Wilkes of Imagine Entertainment, Jeanne Elfant Festa and Nigel Sinclair of White Horse Pictures, all had Amy Poehler on their minds when it came to who would be the best person to tell this story. 

“I had seen her films, I knew she was directing, but I didn’t know if she wanted to do a documentary,” says Elfant Festa. 

“She was in our living rooms – we all felt like we knew her character, Leslie Knope, from Parks & Recreation – just like we feel like we know Lucille Ball, from I Love Lucy. But both are, of course, completely different people from their characters.” Adds Justin Wilkes, president of Imagine Documentaries, “We knew we needed a filmmaker who was somehow connected to the subject matter, someone who could really appreciate what Lucy and Desi stood for, and all of their firsts. And Amy had walked in Lucille’s shoes – she was a female comedian and had come up in the business, as a performer, as a writer and as a director – all while having a family. We weren’t concerned about her not having directed a documentary before. She already knew this story from firsthand experience.” 

Poehler’s earliest memories, as a child, of I Love Lucy are of countless chuckles coming from her family’s living room, hearing her parents’ laughter as they watched the show. “I Love Lucy and television were almost fused,” she states. “It was as if that show came with every television.” But it was not until she was deep in her own career that she truly connected with it – and with its stars. “It wasn’t until I got older, and doing comedy myself, that I really understood what they were doing, and was able to see the many layers to their genius. I’m inspired by the big swings that the two of them took. They came to their success with a lot of confidence. And, because of that, they said ‘No’ to a lot of things. They took giant leaps. They left their homes and worked really hard, and just kept gambling. And they didn’t play small. They were very, very brave.” 

“The way in to a lot of stories,” Poehler explains, “for most people, is a love story. It’s really universal. I knew I wanted to touch on important themes – the different ways they approached work, what kind of work comedy is, and what they did as pioneers for television. But we succeed and fail based on how much we care about their love story.” page5image46913536.pngPoehler was also keen to tell the story of how Ball and Arnaz completely turned the television world upside down, Sinclair notes. “Amy came to this with a very strong point of view about who Lucille Ball was – an insurgent or a disruptor of the business. They shot in L.A., they shot it on film, they used three cameras, they cast a man of color in the leading role for a national sitcom. This isn’t just a story of ‘funny’ – it’s a story of disrupting the TV business, and of a relationship that breaks and makes.”

Another key part of their story for Poehler quickly became evident. “One of the themes that I grasped onto very early on was the idea of ‘rupture and repair.’ Which is something that comedy can do really well. It’s what people turn to when their own lives are chaotic. And I Love Lucy was one of the early adopters of that genre: you have a problem, let everything unravel, but, don’t worry, it’s gonna be okay.” 

As Lucie Arnaz describes it, “I Love Lucy really was about unconditional love and forgiveness. Somebody screws up really bad, and at the end of the 30 minutes, somebody goes, ‘Oh, honey… I love you, blah blah blah.’ I always say it could have been called, I Love Lucy Anyway!” And when it was mentioned to her that Amy was circling the project, that just kicked it up a whole notch for Arnaz. “Amy’s sensibility as a female, a comedienne, a mother, a performer, someone who works and tries to raise a family – I just thought that would be amazing.” 

The principals in this story live that out in real life. “It’s so interesting that this iconic television family and marriage didn’t last,” remarks Poehler. “And yet, we do get a kind of repair, in the story of the film, and in Lucy and Desi’s lives. They do show us, by example, just by living their lives, what it could look like.” 

Writer and Producer Mark Monroe was formally brought onboard to help build the script, spending much of late 2019 and the majority of 2020 on the project. “I start with simple timelines – incredibly detailed timelines,” he explains, building separate ones for Lucille’s life, Desi’s life, and then of their life together. “And you can begin to see, then, what events shaped their decision-making.” Then, through discussions with Poehler and the producers, a framework is built to help determine the direction and parts of the story they plan to tell. 

The lights truly came on for the documentary when the filmmaking team struck gold with the treasure trove that was the family archive at Lucie Arnaz’s Palm Springs home. Within the archive, Elfant Festa found a small lock box which contained, reel to reel audio tapes of the family with Vivian Vance and Desi Arnaz and the children reenacting their favorite I Love Lucy ‘s. After more exploring, they uncovered additional over 20 audio tapes, recorded with reporter Betty Hannah Hoffman around 1965, for what was intended to be an article in Ladies Home Journal. The article didn’t run in the magazine, however, so noting that the two had already put in 

a lot of work thus far, Ball had suggested that Hoffman continue interviewing her and create a book from them instead (eventually released as Love, Lucy). The recordings are sometimes Lucy with Hoffman, and sometimes just Lucy herself, answering questions the writer has provided. “It’s interesting, she’s very plain spoken and not doing trying to be funny – she’s not doing standup,” Poehler points out. “She’s just telling her story.” 

“I knew there were things like that, but I didn’t think they were that interesting,” says Arnaz. “But once we started to digitize things, I said, ‘I don’t know if there’s anything in here you really want to use, so let’s just listen to a few of them.’ And it was, ‘Oh, my God – is that what that is? I thought those were lost!’” 

The Hoffman tapes made up about 70% of the reels found in Lucie’s collection, with another 10% her mother simply recording on her own. The other 20% were recordings Desi had made late in his life, for a never-published follow-up to his 1976 autobiography, A Book. While taped in a more haphazard fashion than his ex-wife’s, the recordings revealed many things Arnaz had never openly spoken about previously. “They were very telling,” says editor Robert Martinez. “He talks about how he doesn’t live in moderation, that he swings from one extreme to the other. His self-awareness was quite amazing.” 

The collection also contained color photographs and color home movies, some of which Lucie Arnaz had used in her earlier 1993 documentary, LUCY AND DESI: A HOME MOVIE, but not to the extent seen in LUCY AND DESI. “We were blessed with the fact that this was a Hollywood family, that had access to a personal film camera – 8mm, in some cases, 16mm – which not everyone had back then,” says Wilkes. “And they documented their lives. There’s so much footage – at home, the kids growing up, vacations they took. It offers a very specific lens into that relationship.” 

“I, somehow, trusted this group to turn over every single thing in my entire life to them, in our archive here,” Arnaz states. 

The archive assets – and the tapes in particular – offered Poehler the ability to have the subjects of the film – Lucy and Desi – tell their own story, in their own words. “Once we knew that we were able to hear them speak, it just opened up this world,” Poehler explains. “We so often use words like ‘mavericks’ and ‘icon’ and ‘trailblazer,’ which are all very non-human words. Not only did I want to hear the way that they explained things, but it helps bring them back to life. And we also know, as sophisticated documentary audiences are now, we’ve learned that not everybody are reliable narrators. And this allows us to hear, and judge, that for ourselves.” 

The difference wasn’t lost on Arnaz either. “Listening to my mother tell stories, in her own words was very different than, say, reading her autobiography, which I read just placing her voice while I was reading. But finding tapes of her actually answering those questions, in depth, things that never occurred to me that were on her mind, and spoken in that rhythm I know – that was invaluable to me.” 

Documentaries are very much a team effort, in good part between the director and a very skilled editor. In this case, Poehler had the benefit of working with Emmy®-nominated Robert Martinez; the experience was a new one for Poehler, who had directed narrative films and episodic comedies, but was approaching a new frontier with her documentary debut. “The relationship between an editor and a director on a documentary is like no other,” she explains. “It was a special privilege to work with Robert. He was really instrumental in coming at a lot of the material in a very fresh way. I just feel like we were always on the same page in what we were trying to do. It was really him, Mark and Nigel and Jeanne, the whole team.” 

Poehler was every bit as hands-on as an editor and producers would hope for a director to be, sitting beside Martinez and working with him on a regular basis. “We were able to test out scenes and work together in person – even during the pandemic. I was able to be there every step of the way. Which was key, because when you’re working with real people and their lives, there are a million ways to tell the story. You have to make strong decisions early. And you have to get used to the fact that you’re not going to be able to get everything in. 

We’re really doing a story about two people for the price of one.” 

“She was in it…the entire process,” Martinez states. “It was fantastic to just have her undivided attention. And she wasn’t afraid to get other opinions, try other things. There was no strict protocol of ‘We’re doing this.’ She was very open to collaboration. Our goal together was to apply the right intention to everything, then figuring out different ways to do it, with no ‘This isn’t my idea’ ownership thing. There were multiple ways to do it, and the best idea in the room always won.” 

Casting Famous Faces and Inspired Individuals Poehler’s job as a storyteller had a different responsibility, too, to her subjects. “Something I did learn, that a documentarian’s power is quite something. The director of a documentary has an incredible amount of power, in which to highlight, underline, leave out, omit or admit. To decide what story you want to tell, where are you being authentic, where are you 

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editorializing? There were many times, I found myself asking, ‘What would Lucy think about this?’” 

While Lucy’s and Desi’s own voices do answer most such questions, the filmmaking team also wished to have important people from their lives, if possible, to speak, as well. While, with the passage of time, many people who knew and worked directly with the couple have since passed, it was decided to still find some who had either directly known Lucy or Desi, or who had been influenced by them in a profound way. 

“When we sat with Amy,” recalls Wilkes, “one of the first things she said was, ‘Look, it really drives me nuts, when you’re watching a film about someone, and suddenly, you cut to somebody on camera who you know has had nothing to do with or never met this person. Maybe they’ve seen them on TV and really liked them, but what are they really doing to further your understanding, as an audience, of who this person was?’

 And that really helped us resist the impulse to go, ‘Oh – we have to interview this famous person, because I know they love Lucy.’ Because then, you’re just collecting famous people.” Says Sinclair, “The interviews need to move the story to the next place, to set up a position in the film. They are there to guide the audience, regarding the archive material that comes before or after, so that it makes you feel you’re in the story. They’re just moving the points along. You try never to have the interview make a point – the film makes a point, and then they do. And they do so in a way that the audience doesn’t feel they’re being lectured – but being talked with, not talked to.” 

A “wish list” was put together, with input from the entire filmmaking team, eventually whittling down to some pretty terrific voices who could truly speak to the effect Lucy and Desi had on them, either directly or indirectly. 

Carol Burnett, who not only was mentored by Lucy, but also worked with her on her own show, was interviewed, as was Bette Midler, who similarly spent time with Lucy. “Carol grew up watching I Love Lucy, and saw what was possible,” Wilkes notes. “Lucy gave her permission, as a female, to enter a career of comedy, a role model Lucy didn’t have herself.” Producer Norman Lear, whose own shows tapped into the cultural zeitgeist of the moment – as well as revolutionized them – speaks to how Lucy and Desi changed things around. “We give him credit for revolutionizing TV in the 70s, but even he genuflects to Lucy and Desi, who did it in the 1950s.” 

Lucie Arnaz and her brother, Desi Arnaz, Jr., of course, are key voices in the film – and, according to the filmmakers, were genuine partners in the project, as well. “They weren’t just signing off the right for us to tell the story,” says Martinez. “They were active collaborators. And they weren’t trying to impose any false narratives. They want to tell the true story. And they managed to keep an objective point of view, after all these years.” 

Another important voice is that of Cuban-American playwright, Eduardo Machado, a friend of Lucie Arnaz’s, and one of the first interviews filmed, in February 2021. A performer and entertainer, as well, Machado has written a number of plays about the Cuban experience in the U.S., and could address the experience of being, like Desi, a Cuban refugee that came through the next revolution (Castro). 

“Eduardo could talk about the difference between being a refugee and an immigrant,” explains Elfant Festa. “He watched Desi, and could see a Cuban-American being something, after seeing other Latinos onscreen. Cesar Romero didn’t play Latin, and Carmen Miranda had fruit on her head. Desi brought class.” Machado also brings and everyman sense to those notions, as well, she says. “When a famous person says these things, they’re not relatable. I can relate to Eduardo.” 

“He speaks to what a young man like him felt, watching Desi as Ricky,” Poehler adds. “Ricky’s dress, manor and status mattered. He was one of just a few Latin actors who got to be his own boss on TV – and behind the scenes. And is so poetic in how he speaks.” Notes Martinez, “He could speak to how it feels to see a Cuban onscreen, at a time when there were very few brown people on TV – and how he was able to pay that forward to his own generation.” 

Representatives from the two museums in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, New York – Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center, and her colleague there, Laura LaPlaca, director of archives and research there and at the nearby Lucy Desi Museum, also inform the story. “Their institutional knowledge was remarkable – they are walking encyclopedias of this story,” Monroe notes. “And just speaking to them, they were emotional. Their lives are connected to Lucille Ball, and that passion was evident to us.” 

Pre-interviews were conducted by phone, many of them by Elfant Festa, which Sinclair notes is a good first step to determine who, among the candidate interviewees, will be best for inclusion in the film. The interviews are recorded, and some are even used as audio in the finished film (as well as used as placeholders for the filmed interviews, to allow Monroe to proceed with scripting, as well as allow Martinez to move ahead with editing). 

When it came time to film the interviews – either in person or via Zoom, depending on Covid limitations – Poehler conducted all of them herself. With as much information as she was required to juggle, Poehler was able to count on her colleague, Jordan Grief, from her production 

company, Paper Kite, to help prep. “There’s a lot of homework, a lot of research to do to prepare,” the director states. “I have to do a lot of studying, which Jordan was a big help with. When doing interviews like these, you have to really understand what you’re talking about. It’s a dangerous place to think you know about something – it’s almost better if you come in assuming you don’t know anything.” Once the interviews were completed, they were pared down to only the key, important voices, always supporting Lucy and Desi’s taped voices. 

Filmmaker Bios 

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Amy Poehler (Producer/Director) 

Amy Poehler is one of Hollywood’s most versatile and sought-after talents with credits including that of actress, writer, executive producer, and bestselling author. Poehler, perhaps best known for her starring role on the Emmy-nominated NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation, currently serves as co-creator, executive producer, and the lead voice of FOX’s animated series Duncanville and appears as co-host (alongside Nick Offerman) and executive producer of the hit 

crafting competition series Making It. She also serves as executive producer on the series Harlem at Amazon and Making It spin off Baking It at Peacock both of which are now streaming. She is also making her documentary directorial debut on the Amazon’s Lucy & Desi which she executive produces alongside Imagine Documentaries & White Horse Pictures which will premiere at Sundance. She recently starred and directed in Netflix’s Moxie and continues to serve as executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series Russian Doll and on Adult Swim’s half hour comedy series Three Busy Debras. She has a number of additional projects in development as part of her successful production company Paper Kite Productions, including the thriller-drama The Mother-In-Law and the Netflix animated feature Steps. 

Mark Monroe (Producer/Writer) 

Mark Monroe is an award-winning documentary writer, director and producer, and co-founder of Diamond Docs. A two-time WGA award winner and BAFTA nominee, his film credits include writing the Academy Award winners, THE COVE and ICARUS, as well as the Grammy winning THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK. Recent collaborations include LUCY AND DESI with Amy Poehler, THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART with Frank Marshall, PAVAROTTI with Ron Howard, BEFORE THE FLOOD with Leonardo DiCaprio, THE DISSIDENT with Bryan Fogel, WATCH THE SOUND with Mark Ronson, and TALES FROM THE TOUR BUS, an animated music series with Mike Judge. A journalism graduate from the University of Oklahoma, Mark began his career as a news writer for CNN.

He has had at least one film premiere at the Sundance Film Festival each of the past 12 years. Other theatrical credits include: Hell On Earth: The fall of Syria and the rise of ISIS (Tribeca 2017, National Geographic); Under the Gun (Sundance 2016, Epix); Hooligan Sparrow (Sundance 2016); Racing Extinction (Sundance 2015, Discovery); Fed Up (Sundance 2014); Sonic Highways (HBO 2014); Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (Sundance 2014, Showtime); Mission Blue (Berlin 2014, Netflix); The Summit (Winner, Best Editing Sundance 2013); Who is Dayani Cristal? (Winner, Best Cinematography, Sundance 2013); Sound City (Sundance 2013); The Tillman Story; Chasing Ice (Winner, Best Cinematography Sundance 2012); Stolen Seas; Last Play at Shea; Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (W.G.A. nomination “Best Documentary Script”, 2007); Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who; and Morning Light (Disney Pictures). 

Michael Rosenberg (Producer) 

Michael Rosen Berg is an American film and television industry executive and producer. He is the Co-Chair of Imagine Entertainment founded by Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer and Oscar- winning director Ron Howard.

Rosenberg served as a producer the critically-acclaimed documentary Pavarotti, and as an executive producer on the 2017 Grammy and Emmy award-winning documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week. Rosenberg also executive produced the documentaries Julia, Dads, Rebuilding Paradise, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, and D. Wade: Life Unexpected. In 2012, Rosenberg co-produced the 84th Academy Awards show for ABC, and produced the documentary Katy Perry: Part of Me. Rosenberg is currently executive producing a documentary on chef José André and his non-profit, World Central Kitchen. 

Rosenberg joined Imagine Entertainment in 1988 as Vice President of Marketing and Distribution, and was promoted to President of Imagine Entertainment in 1998. He oversaw the marketing, publicity and distribution of the company’s films including Best Picture Oscar winner A Beautiful Mind, as well as tick, tick…BOOM!, Parenthood, Backdraft, Apollo 13, Ransom, The Nutty Professor, 8 Mile, Friday Night Lights, Inside Man, The Da Vinci Code, American Gangster, Frost / Nixon, J. Edgar and Rush and television programs including National Geographic Channel’s Genius Anthology series, Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Fox’s hit Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning Best Drama Series 24 and Empire, Fox’s Emmy award-winning Best Comedy Arrested Development, WB’s Felicity, ABC’s Sports Night, NBC’s Friday Night Lights and Parenthood as well as HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon, which won the Emmy for Outstanding Mini-Series, to name a few. 

Prior to joining Imagine, Rosenberg was executive vice president of Fantasy Films and was President of the Saul Zaentz Production Company for ten years, during which time the company released One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, and The English Patient. 

Rosenberg has been actively involved with multiple philanthropic organizations including The Fulfillment Fund, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, USC School of Cinematic Arts, American Film Institute, The Help Group, Best Buddies International, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

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Justin Wilkes (Producer) 

Justin Wilkes is an Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated, multiple Emmy and Peabody- winning producer and the President of Imagine Documentaries. Since the launch of Imagine Docs in 2018, Wilkes has produced Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (Magnolia Pictures), DADS (Apple TV+), directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, Rebuilding Paradise (National Geographic Documentary Films), directed by Ron Howard, D. Wade Life Unexpected (ESPN Films), The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO), directed by Antoine Fuqua, the Emmy-winning Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10 (Apple TV+), Who Are You, Charlie Brown? (Apple TV+), Paper & Glue (MSNBC Films), about renowned French artist JR and the recent Oscar shortlisted, Julia (Sony Pictures Classics), directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West and Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker (MTV Doc Films), directed by Ryan White. 

In addition to Lucy and Desi (Amazon), Justin produced, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing (Netflix), from filmmaker Rory Kennedy, which is also set to premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, Justin has produced a slate of award-winning projects including Liz Garbus’ Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning film, What Happened, Miss Simone? (Netflix), the Emmy-nominated New York Times documentary series The Fourth Estate (Showtime), Emmy-nominated, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (Netflix), the critically-acclaimed National Geographic series MARS, Emmy- winning Hamilton (Disney+) and the documentary series, We Are: The Brooklyn Saints (Netflix); On Pointe (Disney +); Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine (Showtime) and Joe Berlinger’s Crime Scene anthology series, The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel and The Times Square Killer which both reached the top #5 globally on Netflix. 

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Jeanne Elfant Festa (Producer)


Jeanne Elfant Festa is a Partner at White Horse Pictures. She is the Head of Documentaries & Director of Features and oversees the company’s documentary slate. Jeanne is a Producer alongside Nigel Sinclair, Mark Monroe, Imagine Docs, on Lucy and Desi, directed by Amy Poehler. 

Before joining the White Horse creative producing team, she operated her own production company, Piper Cub Productions. With Piper Cub Productions, she had a first-look deal with Exclusive Media and joined forces there with Nigel Sinclair, executive producing the Grammy- winning documentary Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, directed by James Moll. 

Since joining White Horse Pictures, she has served on the producing team for the Grammy & Emmy winning, BAFTA- nominated, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, directed by Ron Howard. Jeanne produced with White Horse Pictures, Cassidy Hartmann, the Emmy-winning and shortlisted for an Academy Award, The Apollo, directed by Roger Ross Williams. 

Jeanne also produced Pavarotti with Nigel Sinclair, directed by Ron Howard and Jeanne, Nigel, and Mark, again joined forces to produce the documentary Emmy -winning, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, directed by Frank Marshall of Kennedy/Marshall. Currently in production, Jeanne is producing a documentary with Stephanie Allain, and Nigel Sinclair about Billy Preston, which Paris Barclay is directing. 

She is also a Producer on a feature film about Keith Moon, the drummer of The Who, as well as a number of other high-end documentaries and unannounced projects now on White Horse Pictures’ slate. 

She serves on the board of Step Up, a nation-wide non-profit organization that propels girls living or going to school in under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential by empowering them to become confident, college-bound, career-focused, and ready to join the next generation of professional women. 

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Nigel Sinclair (Producer) 

Nigel Sinclair launched White Horse Pictures in 2014 with longtime business partner Guy East. Prior to launching White Horse, Sinclair was the CEO and Co-Chairman of Exclusive Media, a global independent film company that financed, produced and globally distributed feature films and documentaries. In 2003, Sinclair and East launched their independent feature film and television production company Spitfire Pictures, which signed a first-look development and production deal with the British horror studio Hammer in 2007. In 1996, prior to starting Spitfire, Sinclair and East co-founded Intermedia Films, which became one of the world’s leading independent film producers. 

Sinclair has won a number of awards, including a Peabody, a Dupont, and multiple Emmys and Grammys. He acts as lead producer on White Horse Pictures’ documentary projects. 

Nigel was most recently a Producer alongside Jeanne Elfant Festa, Mark Monroe and Frank Marshall on the documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, directed by Frank Marshall of Kennedy Marshall.

His documentary credits include Pavarotti, directed by Ron Howard; the Grammy-winning & BAFTA-nominated The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, also directed by Ron Howard; Martin Scorsese’s Emmy-winning George Harrison: Living in the Material World and Grammy-winning No Direction Home: Bob Dylan; the Oscar-winning Undefeated; the Grammy-winning Foo Fighters: Back and Forth; and the Emmy- and Grammy-nominated Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who. 

Together with his partners at White Horse – Nick Ferrall, Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann – Sinclair is producing Lucy & Desi; and a forthcoming TV series for HBO, executive produced by Ezra Edelman and directed by Jamila Wignot, on the celebrated Stax record label. Alongside the White Horse team, he also produced The Apollo, the authorized documentary on Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater directed by Roger Ross Williams. The Apollo won an Emmy for Outstanding Documentary and was shortlisted for an Academy Award. 

At Exclusive, Sinclair produced Parkland starring Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton and Paul Giamatti; Snitch, starring Dwayne Johnson; and End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera. He also executive produced Ron Howard’s RUSH. Sinclair’s extensive other film credits include Sliding Doors, starring Gwyneth Paltrow; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; Alan Parker’s The Life of David Gale, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet; The Quiet American, starring Michael Caine; and The Wedding Planner, starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey. 

Sinclair attended Cambridge University in the U.K. and earned a Master of Law from Columbia University in New York. In 2000, Sinclair was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in consideration of his service to the film industry. 

Robert Martinez (Editor) 

Robert A. Martinez is an Emmy and A.C.E. Eddie Award nominated documentary editor whose previous work includes Mark Marshall’s The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart and Ron Howard’s Pavarotti.
His passion for storytelling is inspired by a multicultural upbringing and his dedication for the craft of film editing is fueled by a work ethic instilled from working class parents. 

Robert is a graduate of California State University Northridge in their Cinema Arts program. A lifelong Southern California native, he currently lives in Inglewood, CA with his wife Ashley. 

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Nobuhiro Hosoki
Nobuhiro Hosokihttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Nobuhiro Hosoki grew up watching American films since he was a kid; he decided to go to the United States thanks to seeing the artistry of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange.” After graduating from film school, he worked as an assistant director on TV Tokyo’s program called "Morning Satellite" at the New York branch office but he didn’t give up on his interest in cinema. He became a film reporter for via Yahoo Japan News. In that role, he writes news articles, picks out headliners for Yahoo News, as well as interviewing Hollywood film directors, actors, and producers working in the domestic circuit in the USA. He also does production interviews for Japanese distributors of American films and for in-theater on-sale programs. He is now the editor-in-chief of Cinemadailyus.com while continuing his work for Japan.