Oil Tycoon Teams With Race-Car Driver to Launch ESX Entertainment

ESX Entertainment
Forrest Lucas

The new company will finance and produce films with inspiring and purpose-driven stories.

Oil tycoon Forrest Lucas has teamed with professional race-car driver Ali Afshar to launch to ESX Entertainment, a company that will finance and produce films with inspiring and purpose-driven stories.

Lucas and Afshar’s new ESX Entertainment will focus on feature films, TV and digital content as Afshar’s ESX Productions and its film slate will be be folded into ESX Entertainment. The slate includes The Wrong Side of Right, a social issue drama starring Lea Thompson, James Remar, Allison Paige and Jayson Blair; and The Wizard, a coming-of-age story of perseverance in the face of adversity, starring Jon Voight, William Fichtner, Gabriel Basso and Afshar.

The new company also inherits Afshar’s Born to Race franchise, which includes the original Born to Race and the sequel Born to Race: Fast Track as well as a Born to Race TV series currently in development.

ESX Entertainment marks the first foray into film for Lucas, whose own rags-to-riches story serves as the impetus behind the creative mantra of the company and guides the initial slate of inspirational films that support the American way of life and the American dream tied to Lucas' "Protect the Harvest" organization — a nonprofit that helps to protect and educate the public about hunting, farming, ranching and pet ownership.

ESX Entertainment’s initiatives will be supported by a media fund backed by Lucas, which allows ESX to not only finance content but also provide P&A funding.

With Afshar at the helm, ESX aims to make 3 to 6 projects a year across the three mediums.

"Forrest and I could not have come from more different places or traveled more different roads to get where we are today, yet we feel like we are cut from the same fabric and have a shared sense of values that make this venture very meaningful to both of us," Ashfar said. "The structure of our company reflects how the industry is working today. Forrest and I are inspired by stories with motivating messages yet are highly entertaining across all platforms. We are thrilled to take on this exciting new endeavor together and work creatively and collaboratively to build something very special."

Added Lucas: "For me, venturing into the film business is not about money, glamor or fun. It’s about being able to deliver messages and having a viable vehicle to do so. I’ve known Ali for a while and have tremendous respect for his approach and dedication to the business and have faith in him as the leader of ESX."

On the TV side, Lucas already owns the cable network MAVTV which airs motor-sports programming and King of the Cage and is currently available in more than 50 million U.S. homes. Purchased in 2011, Lucas has been adding original scripted programming and reality TV to the mix.

As an actor, Afshar’s credits include Three Kings, Godzilla and The Siege as well as TV series King of Queens, JAG and NCIS.