Paul Trijbits & JJ Lousberg Launch New Venture


Film and TV producer Paul Trijbits (Saving Mr. Banks, The Casual Vacancy) and producer and former Focus Features and Universal executive JJ Lousberg have launched Magical Society UK in partnership with Joann Sfar’s Paris-based Magical Society.

Among the company’s first greenlit projects is the six-part BBC One drama Virdee, based on AA Dhand’s best-selling crime novels. It follows Harry Virdee, a Bradford cop who is disowned by his Sikh family for marrying a Muslim. Amid the chaos of his personal life, he must hunt down a killer targeting the Asian community.

The series is being produced by Magical Society’s crime-genre label Magical North in association with Screen Yorkshire. Cineflix Rights will distribute it worldwide.

Another project on the development slate is The Botanist, from best-selling author M.W. Craven, to be adapted by Dhand. It is part of Craven’s Washington Poe series of detective novels and combines a locked-room mystery where the chief suspect is one of Poe’s colleagues with a poisoner targeting the rich and famous.

In advanced development is Monsters’ Shrink, based on Sfar’s work and written and adapted by Jeremy Dyson (Ghost Stories, League of Gentlemen, Killing Eve).

Joining the Magical Society team created from elements of Trijbits’ former company FilmWave are Callum Dogdson as head of development and Laura Douras as director of finance and production finance.

Trijbits’ recent credits include Netflix’s The Letter for the King, John Carney’s Sing Street and Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. He was previously the head of the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund.

Lousberg recently produced Day & Night for NPO and was previously Focus Features/Universal’s senior VP of international productions and acquisitions. He worked across the slate on films such as Ex Machina, Mama and Theory of Everything. He also led the local-language strategy for the studio, co-producing Heartbreaker, Babysitting, Spanish Affair and Julia’s Eyes.