Docs

World of Wonder launches doc division with Jim Fraenkel at helm

RuPaul’s Drag Race producer World of Wonder is expanding its operations with the formation of a documentary division, WOW Docs. The division will be spearheaded by unscripted executive Jim Fraenkel (pictured), who ...
October 16, 2020

RuPaul’s Drag Race producer World of Wonder is expanding its operations with the formation of a documentary division, WOW Docs.

The division will be spearheaded by unscripted executive Jim Fraenkel (pictured), who has been tapped as SVP of documentary and current. He reports into WOW co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey.

Fraenkel, whose body of works spans the worlds of news and documentary at Spotify, MTV and Fox, joined WOW in 2018.

WOW has produced 50 documentaries, while Barbato and Bailey’s documentary roots run nearly three decades deep, with numerous feature-length documentaries premiering on HBO and the BBC, as well as at the Sundance Film Festival.

“We began our career in documentaries with The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Ever since, we have always believed that the potential to tell real life, powerful, moving stories is limitless. We see a significant gap in the market. The preference for big name talent and directors means there are many powerful and inspiring stories from outsider voices crying out to be told,” Barbato and Bailey said in a joint statement. “Non-scripted narrative is, for us, the cutting edge of storytelling today. Two of our feature docs have been made into scripted features, and we see that as something that will continue to happen as the scripted world looks to documentaries for material and inspiration.”

This announcement comes on the heels of WOW’s sale of Freedia Got a Gun to NBC’s Peacock.

WOW Docs will also bring the Chris McKim-directed feature documentary Wojnarowicz, about the life and times of iconic artist and activist David Wojnarowicz, to DOC NYC this November.

Current projects in development as part of WOW Docs include Explant, directed by Emmy Award-winning Jeremy Simmons (The Last Beekeeper).

The project features RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and her journey to have her breast implants taken out after years of suffering from what she believes to be a breast implant-related illness.

Also in development is the documentary Spotlight, helmed by Jasper Rischen, which follows the filmmaker as he goes on a quest around the world in search of local talent.

The series will celebrate local queer culture in each country, and travel to areas often unexplored on this topic.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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