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LONDON, 23 NOVEMBER 2021: Lee Magiday (The Favourite, The Lobster), Rory Gilmartin (Herself, Frank of Ireland) and Wilf Varvill have joined forces in a significant ramping up of the company’s activities backed by MediaNet Partners and Sampsonic Media, it was announced today.     


With offices in London and Dublin, and bringing together their years of industry experience and key talent relationships under Lee Magiday’s Sleeper Films banner, the new partners have an advanced development slate of projects, focusing on internationally driven, impactful and singular story-telling across film and television.          


New to announce is supernatural thriller Corballymore House, a returnable television series which is being co-produced with Ben Grass of Pure Grass Films. Declan De Barra (Netflix’s The Witcher-Blood Origin and The Witcher, Stephen King’s Chapelwaite for FX) will showrun, with Diane Ademu-John (HBO MAX’s Dune prequel, Dune - The Sisterhood, The Haunting of Bly Manor) onboard as Creative Consultant and EP. Created by De Barra and inspired by stories from his own family history, Corballymore House is set just prior to the First World War and follows the Doyle family as they inherit a remote manor house while recovering from the loss of their baby and failed business. Setting out with renewed hope to heal and restore their fortunes, they realise their previous troubles are nothing compared to what lies in wait for them at Corballymore. The series is currently being readied to pitch to select buyers.


As previously announced, Sleeper Films are also developing feature film In the Shadows with Film4 about the UK-Somalian women’s boxing phenomenon Ramla Ali, to be directed by Anthony Wonke and in partnership with Curate Films, and mystery thriller series The Ruín, an adaptation of Dervla McTiernan’s novel of the same name. In development with Screen Ireland, Sleeper are producing with Colin Farrell and Claudine Farrell of Chapel Place Productions, Troy Lum and Andrew Mason at Brouhaha and Sophie Gardiner at Chapter One.


“We’re delighted to be partnering with MediaNet and Sampsonic Media as we move forward into this exciting new period of growth for Sleeper. Our new partners share our passion for compelling story-telling from distinctive talent – stories that have something unique to say about the human condition; stories that can push boundaries and genres.” said Lee Magiday, Rory Gilmartin and Wilf Varvill.


Lee Magiday has over 30 years’ experience in the entertainment industry. Prior to founding Sleeper Films, she was a producer on Yorgos Lanthimos’ multi-award winning and critically acclaimed The Favourite, for which she won a BAFTA for Outstanding British Film. She also produced Lanthimos’ multi-award winning The Lobster starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz which won the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and was Associate Producer on Irish box-office-hit The Guard starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. Lee previously worked in house at various studios and production companies including heading up Focus Features’ European offices as VP Acquisitions & Production and Director of Acquisitions at PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Universal Pictures International.


Rory Gilmartin also brings over 30 years industry experience to Sleeper. As an independent producer, he most recently produced Channel 4/Amazon Studios’ Frank of Ireland for Merman, created by and starring Domhnall Gleeson and Brian Gleeson. He was previously in-house producer at Element Pictures where his feature film credits included Phyllida Lloyd’s Herself, four-time BAFTA nominated Calm with Horses, and Rosie. His other positions have included Project Manager at Screen Ireland where he was an executive producer on over 30 films including The Lobster and Brooklyn, and Head of Development at Independent Talent’s Brilliant Films and Impact Pictures.


Wilf has worked at a leading film and TV completion guarantor where he was closely involved with the financial and legal closing of over 50 projects with budgets ranging from £1.5m to £45m including Lars von Trier’s The House that Jack Built, Jason Howden’s Guns Akimbo and David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake. Prior to this, he worked in acquisitions at Focus Features and Universal Pictures International and produced award-winning shorts including Londongrad.


Notes to editors:



MediaNet Partners is a private asset management firm that operates mainly in Latin America. It is focused on investing in companies with distinctive talent in the media and entertainment industry. Its portfolio of companies includes film & TV production companies, film studio facilities, music rights and service companies, digital advertising, sports, and e-sports. Its interests include AGC Studios, Ray Pictures, El Estudio, iGeneration Studios and Lantica Media, which operates Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios.



Led by Nicolas D. Sampson and Arno Hazebroek, Sampsonic Media executive produced the family drama Hope Gap, written and directed by William Nicholson, and starring Annette Bening, Bill Nighy and Josh O’Connor; the music photography and Grierson Award-winning documentary Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall; the period-romance Vita & Virginia, starring Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki; and the WWII drama Adventures of a Mathematician, starring Esther Garrel and Joel Basman. Other projects include the feature film Behind The Mirror, which won Best Thriller at the Manhattan Film Festival and was released through The Orchard; and the documentary Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time on the iconic author Kurt Vonnegut, for which Sampsonic Media raised finance.


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