EXCLUSIVE: World of Wonder (WOW), the company behind the Emmy-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, has launched its own documentary division, WOW Docs with unscripted executive Jim Fraenkel leading the charge. The news was announced after DOC NYC unveiled their lineup.
Fraenkel has been with WOW since 2018. Prior to WOW, Fraenkel built an award-winning body of work spanning the worlds of news and documentary at Spotify, MTV, and FOX. His new title will be SVP of Documentary and Current, and he will report to WOW co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey.
The launch of the new docu arm of WOW makes perfect sense considering World of Wonder’s library of over 50 feature docus that shines a light on underrepresented and marginalized communities. Barbato and Bailey have documentary roots that run nearly three decades deep with numerous feature-length documentaries on provocative subjects premiering on HBO, BBC and Sundance.
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“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,” said Barbato and Bailey in a joint statement. “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. 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.”
The news of WOW Docs comes after it was they sold the OutFest-winning Freedia Got a Gun to NBC’s Peacock. The documentary about the titular “Queen of Bounce” debuts October 15. WOW Docs has also set Chris McKim’s Wojnarowicz, about the life and times of iconic artist and activist David Wojnarowicz. The film will debut at DOC NYC this November.
WOW Docs is also developing Explant directed by Emmy-winning Jeremy Simmons (The Last Beekeeper). The project features RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and her immersive journey as she gets her breast implants taken out after years of suffering from what she believes to be a breast implant-related illness. Also on their slate is Spotlight, which follows director Jasper Rischen 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.
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