Matti Leshem is the founder of New Mandate Films, a film and television production company created to mine the rich depth of Jewish history, literature, and stories from the Bible to the present day. Together with BRON Studios, Leshem produced the company’s first feature film, The Survivor, directed by Academy Award winner, Barry Levinson debuted on HBO on Yom Hashoah, April 27th, 2022. The film chronicles the story of Harry Haft, who survives Auschwitz by being forced to box his fellow prisoners to the death by a Nazi officer. Haunted by the memories and guilt over the price of survival, Haft attempts to use a high-profile boxing match against Rocky Marciano to find the woman he fell in love with before the war.
Other projects in development include Keeper of the Diary for Fox Searchlight, which tells the story of Otto Frank’s discovery and publication of his daughter Anne’s diary, and Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, an adaptation of Eric Kimmel’s beloved holiday classic, which New Mandate Films is producing with Marc Platt Productions and the Jim Henson Company.
Leshem is also the co-founder of Weimaraner Republic Pictures (WRPCO), which he and his wife, Lynn Harris, founded in 2014. In 2016, WRPCO produced the global hit The Shallows for Sony Pictures. Amongst other projects, WRPCO is currently developing the remake of the classic thriller Jagged Edge for Sony Pictures, Of the Free for Participant Media, with Slick Naim attached to direct, and The Ascent, for Netflix.
In TV, WRPCO has sold shows to several different networks and streamers, most recently Get the Gett, with Liev Schreiber attached to direct and star for Showtime, Pure, written by Heather Regnier, for Peacock, and an adaptation of the hit podcast The Clearing for Peacock, which WRPCO is producing with Chernin Entertainment. Leshem is also producing a series, Saints, based on his original concept for Sonar Entertainment with Martin Scorsese directing and executive producing.
Prior to founding these two entertainment companies, Leshem founded Protagonist, a brand strategy company that created multiplatform brand-defining experiences for high-profile companies including Pepsi, Weight Watchers, Newscorp, and Living Proof, among others. Additionally, Leshem created Diplomatic, a multi-faceted production company where he served as an executive producer on ESPN’s 2-Minute Drill, USA Network’s Smush, and the A&E documentary series Ultimate Reality. Leshem also launched and ran Barry Diller’s WAMI-TV (USA Broadcasting), where he oversaw the creation of more than 40 hours of original programming each week.
Leshem graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a BA and holds an MFA in Film Directing from the American Film Institute (AFI). He serves on the board of American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic (AFIPO).