Tosca Musk, Elon’s sister, embraces Georgia as home for streamer Passionflix

The seven-year-old service moved to metro Atlanta in 2021.
Tosca Musk, CEO of Passionflix, poses for a portrait at the company’s headquarters in Palmetto on Thursday, February 8, 2024. (Arvin Temkar /



Tosca Musk, CEO of Passionflix, poses for a portrait at the company’s headquarters in Palmetto on Thursday, February 8, 2024. (Arvin Temkar /

Tosca Musk has had a passion for romance novels for decades.

Back in the 2000s and early 2010s, the 49-year-old South Africa native was able to harness some of that love into directing films such as “Holiday Engagement,” “You Cast a Spell On Me” and “A Cinderella Christmas” on networks like Ion and Hallmark.

But converting romance novels into movies and TV series was a challenge at the time. “They were often considered too risqué for regular television,” Musk said in a recent interview at her headquarters in Palmetto.

So in 2017, Musk raised $5 million from investors and launched her own streaming service, Passionflix out of Los Angeles, focused exclusively on films and series adapted from romance novels. She has since moved her streaming service to metro Atlanta and now has nine full-time employees.

Musk won’t release financial or subscription numbers since Passionflix is a private company.

“We are surviving, which is great,” Musk said. “We’re around and hitting our seventh year. It’s exciting that we are still growing. Are we growing as fast as we’d like? No. I’d love to grow faster. But we’re still alive. My investors are happy. The board is supportive. We are still able to make movies every year.”

Tosca Musk, CEO of Passionflix, poses for a portrait at the company’s headquarters in Palmetto on Thursday, February 8, 2024. She’s joined by her dog Jane (left) and marketing director Ali Whitaker’s dog Molly (right). (Arvin Temkar /


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Musk to date has produced about 30 different shorts, films and TV series for Passionflix. The most notable projects have been a nine-part film series under the names “Gabriel’s Inferno,” “Gabriel’s Rapture” and “Gabriel’s Redemption” based on books written by New York Times bestselling author Sylvain Reynard, and a TV series “The Secret Life of Amy Bensen” based on a book series by Lisa Renee Jones.

The rest of the service is filled with films from other producers like BBC’s versions of “Jane Eyre” and “Pride & Prejudice,” the 2002 comedy “Miranda” with Christina Ricci, 2003 period drama “The Heart of Me” with Helena Bonham Carter and 2002′s romantic thriller “A Walk to Remember” with Mandy Moore.

The service provides a tongue-in-cheek rating system based on how much physical romantic content there is ranging from “Oh So Vanilla!” and “Mildly Titillating” to “Toe Curling Yumminess” and “NSFW.”

“We call it the barometer of naughtiness,” said Musk, who came up with the idea. “We do all levels of romance.”

Passionflix now shoots six original movies or series a year, largely in Georgia in cities such as Newnan, Fairburn and Barnesville. Musk is also taping a talk show where she visits romance authors in their hometowns in the vein of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

While Musk started Passionflix in Los Angeles, the pandemic provided the impetus for Musk to leave. In 2020, she met with her then five employees and told them to consider a new home.

“For me personally, I needed a good home for my kids and proximity to an airport,” said Musk, who has 10-year-old twins. “What others needed were affordability, quality of life and good schools. We went through every state but at the end of the day, we settled in Georgia.”

She had shot her first film “Hollywood Dirt” in Augusta in 2017 and liked the state as well as the generous tax credit system for producers.

“The crews here are really wonderful,” Musk said. “It is so green and so pretty and such a wonderful sense of life here. Almost everyone at Passionflix has bought a house since we moved here.”

Musk herself moved to the south side of Atlanta, rented an office in Palmetto in a converted pharmacy and built out a soundstage from a warehouse in Fairburn. “I wanted to be able to commute in the trees,” she said. “I love driving down South Fulton Parkway.”

Ali Whitaker, Passionflix head of marketing, said she got into romance novels after reading “50 Shades of Grey” but is well aware of the genre’s stigma.

“Some people think it’s low brow,” Whitaker said. “It’s called Mommy porn. But they make you feel happy. It’s a form of escape like any other form of entertainment.” When she heard about Passionflix in 2019, she met with Musk and nabbed a job at the start up.

Whitaker calls the work environment collaborative. All employees offer input into which books to adapt and who to cast in the films. “She optioned a lot of books I recommended,” she said. “That level of involvement is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”

The PassionFlix fan convention in Puerto Rico in March 2024 featured a debut screening of a new movie "Wallbanger." CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Edgar Bertran

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Credit: Edgar Bertran

Musk considers herself an independent spirit like her older brother Elon Musk, owner of multiple companies including SpaceX, Tesla and social media platform X. But he has no financial or strategic involvement in Passionflix.

“My brother is an important personal part of my life and that’s it,” she said. “I would say he’s an exceptionally busy person.”

For Passionflix, Musk doesn’t spend much on traditional marketing, relying instead on word of mouth and a PassionCon fan fest. The second convention, which maxed out at 300 participants, concluded in mid-March in Puerto Rico, following an inaugural Los Angeles fest in 2022.

“We want it to be intimate and I want to meet everyone,” Musk said.

British recruitment consultant Kim Bircher, 57, and her 29-year-old daughter Laura Harris consider themselves Passionistas, as fans of Passionflix dub themselves. They discovered Passionflix during the pandemic while Bircher was dealing with multiple family health crises. “We were having a really bad time and were looking for something to escape the fear of what was happening,” she said.

Actor Giulio Berruti, lead male actor in Passionflix’s Gabriel film series caught her eye so she signed on to the service. “It was very user friendly,” she said. “I was very impressed.”

Actor Giulio Berruti attends the premiere of "Downhill" at the SVA Theatre on on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in New York. He plays the lead in the Passionflix series of films based on the Gabriel novels by Sylvain Reynard. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

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Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

She also liked how the films stayed true to the books. So she and her daughter soon became VIP “signature” members, enabling them to visit the set of “Gabriel’s Redemption” in 2022 in England and meet the cast and Musk in person. “We got to be extras,” she said.

Nine months ago, Bircher and Harris attended a screening premiere of the film in London while Harris was 32 weeks pregnant after IVF treatment with Olivia, who is now seven months old.

“We call Olivia the Passionflix baby,” Bircher said.

Tosca Musk meets romance author Jessica Bird at the second PassionFlix convention in Puerto Rico over the weekend of March 21-24, 2024. CONTRIBUTED


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While nearly every other streaming service has raised their monthly price, Musk has kept Passionflix at $5.99 a month since day one. But she admits inflation has made pricing a challenge.

“The cost of making movies has doubled since 2017,” she said. “Our fans would like us to have more content but that costs more as well.”

And while more services are inserting ads to generate more income, Musk is mixed on this idea. She would consider a “presented by” before the movie begins but would hate to interrupt her content with traditional ad breaks. “I don’t like that as a viewer,” she said.

Dan Rayburn, a media industry analyst specializing in streaming and technologies, is only mildly familiar with Passionflix but said there are some specialized streaming services that have thrived including BritBox (British TV), Shudder (horror) and Acorn TV (international fare).

“There is a lot of room for niche platforms to grow,” Musk said. “Netflix is everything to everyone. We’re like ESPN. More focused. People want specific things.”

Might she team up with another streaming service? Musk said she can’t rule that out “but right now, we don’t need to. I don’t know which streaming platform we could partner with. As the other platforms consolidate, it might make sense to be a part of that. We haven’t started those conversations.”