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Imagine Entertainment Promotes Justin Wilkes to Chief Creative Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

Justin Wilkes (Courtesy of Davi Russo)

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment has promoted Justin Wilkes to chief creative officer.

Currently the head of the prolific Imagine Documentaries division, Wilkes’ expanded role was announced internally on Monday by Howard and Grazer. He will now work closely with film, TV, docs, branded entertainment, kids and family, and international programming. Wilkes will also advise on Imagine’s stake in Tony Hernandez’s Jax Media and Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions.

“We are thrilled to have Justin expand his role at Imagine. Over the years, he has shown he is creatively ambitious, has a keen eye for talent and story, and has the ability to masterfully execute his productions. He is a powerful producer and collaborator, and incredibly talent-friendly, engaging with storytellers in a way that allows them to actualize their vision and maximize their abilities,” Grazer and Howard said.

Wilkes joined Imagine in 2018 as co-founder of the docs unit with executive vice president Sara Bernstein. The pair swiftly grew a studio-agnostic slate that includes Nat Geo’s “Rebuilding Paradise,” ESPN’s “D. Wade: Life Unexpected,” Disney Plus’ “On Pointe” and Magnolia’s “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band.”

The upcoming nonfiction slate has high-profile projects, including: Martin Scorsese’s doc about punk legends the New York Dolls at Showtime; Antoine Fuqua’s “The Day Sports Stood Still” at HBO; Rory Kennedy’s Boeing 737 Max project at Netflix; Amy Poehler’s Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz film; and Howard’s second vérité film following chef Jose Andrés and his World Central Kitchen at Nat Geo.

Wilkes will also have a hand in Imagine’s branded storytelling initiatives, which produced the documentary “John Bronco,” and is currently in production on the large-format feature film “Mars 2080” with partners Walmart, P&G and Nike.

Before joining the company, Wilkes produced Jay-Z’s “Made in America” alongside Grazer and Howard, and the hit Nat Geo series “Mars.” He also ran RadicalMedia’s entertainment endeavors, where he produced and executive produced a slate of award-winning projects, including Liz Garbus’ Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning film “What Happened, Miss Simone,” Joe Berlinger’s Oscar-nominated “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory,” and the Netflix series “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman.”

Variety's Matt Donnelly contributed to this post.


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