Clients utilize William L. Whitacre Esquire of William L. Whitacre & Associates, PA for independent film productions in the role of principal entertainment legal counsel for business structure, equity structure, development and production financial offerings, production legal services, distribution delivery compliance, and related services including acting as a Supervising Producer.
William L. Whitacre is an entertainment attorney with production offices located in Central Florida. His firm is William L. Whitacre & Associates, P.A. whose clients include international film and television producers, musical artists, independent music labels, and related companies and individuals. His practice consists of an exclusive base of principal clients with whom he is often a strategic and equity partner, and/or supervising producer. Mr. Whitacre’s screen credits for produced and distributed feature films include the Haxan Films feature films “The Blair Witch Project;” “Altered;“ and “Seventh Moon” starring Amy Smart; The First of May” (also Supervising Producer);“Missing in America” starring Danny Glover (also Associate Producer); “Silver Wings and Civil Rights” (also Supervising Producer) a feature documentary with many of the original Tuskegee Airmen, and winner of the Audience Award at the Miami International Film Festival; “Endure” starring Judd Nelson and Tom Arnold; the award winning documentary “Voices from Mariel” and others.
Mr. Whitacre created the business and equity structures for Blair Witch Film Partners, LTD, the entity that sold the “Blair Witch Project” to Artisan Entertainment. He was also directly responsible for the final delivery of the film to Artisan that resulted in the first advance payment of $1M being released to the Producers prior to the film’s theatrical debut. Mr. Whitacre also provided all of the business and equity structures for Probed, LLC and White Ape Pictures, LLC, and the production legal and delivery of the feature film “Altered” in 2006 to its distributor Rogue Pictures, a division of Focus Features for a multi million dollar negative pick up advance payment greater than the production budget of the film.
Mr. Whitacre studied creative writing with Smith Kirkpatrick at the University of Florida while working on his BA in English Literature. He graduated from the University of Florida Law School with his Juris Doctor degree in December 1971. He entered the United States Army in 1972 and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1973 while on active duty. Following service with the U. S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps he moved to Orlando, Florida where he practiced law full time from 1977 until relocating his production offices to G Star Studios and School of the Performing Arts in Palm Beach County in 2008.
Mr. Whitacre was an Assistant State Attorney in Florida from 1977 to 1981. He served as Chief Assistant State Attorney, and Acting State Attorney of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida, with responsibility for liaison with the Office of the Governor of Florida on community law enforcement relations. During his tour with the State Attorney’s Office, Mr. Whitacre successfully prosecuted many high profile homicide cases, gaining national attention on the Associated Press wire, and in other media for his innovative use of expert witnesses in the fields of forensic pathology, odontology and anthropology and was featured in “True Detective” magazine.
Mr. Whitacre has been a trial attorney for over thirty years. In his private practice he has represented ABC Liquors, the largest independent beer and wine merchant in the United States, and The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority as primary trial counsel in multi-million dollar litigation, together with Revlon, Neve, and many other corporations and organizations in both State and Federal court. He is admitted to the bars of the United States Middle District of Florida, and the United States Supreme Court. He has litigated Federal criminal and civil matters in Florida, Virginia, and Illinois.
Music clients have included JACO PASTORIUS (Grammy nominee with WEATHER REPORT); D.J. MAGIC MIKE (“Father of Bass”); CHEETAH RECORDS (Four RIAA certified Gold Sales Awards, and one RIAA certified Platinum sales award); MUSCLE MIXES MUSIC (Reebok’s Step Aerobic music provider); TOM WASHINGTON (International Producer of Phenix Horns); LATHAN HUDSON (Grammy nominated Nashville Songwriter, co-writer of Country #1 “New Looks from and Old Lover” recorded by B. J. Thomas); RAZZY BAILEY;HANK “SUGARFOOT” GARLAND (Legendary Country and Jazz Guitarist who recorded extensively for and with Owen and Harold Bradley at the Hut); FLATFOOT RECORDS (an independent record label operation of Valencia Community College in Orlando, FL); FUEL RECORDS, which recently recorded with Grammy winning producer ROCKWILDER and HILARY WILLIAMS, granddaughter of country music legend Hank Williams, and many others.
Music representation includes career development, personal management, business organization, copyright, artist contract formation and negotiation, music licensing, music publishing and administration, and distribution agreements with companies such as Warner/Atlantic, Polygram, CBS, INDI, RED Distribution, and their international affiliates in Europe and Japan. Mr. Whitacre’s music affiliations include being an ASCAP and BMI music publisher through his company Wail & Moan Music and NARAS, the Grammy organization. His law firm is an Organizational Member of CMA, the Country Music Association.
Television clients have included LAUREN CHAPIN (“Father Knows Best”); DANNY GURA (“Hi Honey, I’m Home,” Nickelodeon/ABC);DETECTIVE KATHY A. (Steven J. Cannell/Gross-Weston Productions and Hearst Entertainment); TOM SMITH (“Roller Jam,” TNT); VNN (Villages News Network); “The Boat Show” (Speedvision); ISO PRODUCTIONS, LLC (General counsel for the Fox television series remake of “In Search Of”); FREAKYLINKS, INC. (Producers for the Fox Television series “Freaky Links”); AJL, LLC (“Farm Force,”animated episodic television franchise with distribution agreement with Warner’s) and others. Mr. Whitacre has been featured on NBC’s “A Current Affair” and Valencia Community College’s “Behind the Indie Camera.”
Television representation has included negotiation of option contracts on books and life stories for television Movies of the Week as well as talent agreements and general production company services with principal broadcast networks and companies.
Film clients have included the following production companies and their feature films: PJK GROUP (Miami Connection, starring Master Y. K. Kim); A JOINT FILM VENTURE COMPANY (Miami Beach Cops); SHO ENTERTAINMENT (“The First of May,” starring Julie Harris, Mickey Rooney, and Joe DiMaggio); HAXAN FILMS, INC. (“The Blair Witch Project,” highest grossing independent film ever with $140.5M in theatrical box office revenue and a 1999 Sundance and Cannes Film Festival Selection; WHITE APE PICTURES, LLC (“Altered,” released by Focus Features/Rouge Pictures through Universal in 2006); THE PAMPLIN FILM COMPANY (“Michael Winslow Live” starringMichael Winslow and Hoover, starring Ernest Borgnine both of which Mr. Whitacre Executive Produced); TREAT YOURSELF FILMS, INC. (“Florida City”); BACK HOME PRODUCTIONS (“The Way Back Home” with Julie Harris and Ruby Dee); HARVEST OF EMPIRE, LLC (feature documentary entitled “Harvest of Empire”) and ANGEL DEVIL PRODUCTIONS (“Missing in America” with Danny Glover, Ron Perlman, and Linda Hamilton), shot in Vancouver, B.C. and the HAXAN feature shot in Hong Kong in Fall 2007, “Seventh Moon” starring Amy Smart). Mr. Whitacre is a current and ten year member of the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) as a Production Manager.
Current projects in development in addition to the multi film slates of The Pamplin Film Company and Haxan Films include “Arigo” being produced by James Guyer’s production company THE CALLING PRODUCTION, LLC starring Andy Garcia, and being directed by Academy Award winner Alan Arkin based upon an Alan Arkin screenplay; “Between Yesterday and Tomorrow” being produced by BYAT, LLC based on a Ken Sagoes script with Lou Gossett, Jr., Bill Cobbs and Della Reese; and other documentary features, live action features, and animation features in various stages from development through distribution, with budgets ranging from under $1M to $20M.
Mr. Whitacre’s representation in film includes business and equity structuring, production contracts for talent, music, cast and crew, permitting, licensing, copyright, private placement film financing investment packages, distribution coordination with primary emphasis upon legal delivery requirements and acting as a Producer and Supervising Producer.
Mr. Whitacre has lectured and participated at major universities and colleges as a panelist and at many entertainment industry festivals and conferences, including the following: ShowBizExpo LA; ShowBizExpo NYC; IFP Midwest; The Hollywood Film Festival; The University of Florida Music Law Conference; The Jacksonville Film Festival (for the Florida Bar;) The Florida Film Festival; and The Sarasota Film Festival. Mr. Whitacre has also appeared in numerous print publications including Florida Today, and the Forbes Magazine 2000 Annual Investment Guide re investing in independent film.
Mr. Whitacre is also a film and stage actor, a classic cowboy shooter, and a guitarist and singer/songwriter, performing throughout the world at festivals and other venues. He has been married for 39 years to his high school sweetheart Gaynell whom he met in the sixth grade.