Wilkes will serve as president of Imagine Documentaries, which will focus on feature-length films and unscripted TV series as well as branded entertainment initiatives. The launch of a dedicated docu division is the latest expansion for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine banner, which was fortified with a $100 million investment from Raine Group in early 2016.
Wilkes and Imagine have a long history of working together on projects, most recently on the National Geographic TV series “Mars,” which bows its second season later this year.
“We are so excited to have Justin join the team. He combines unique vision and masterful execution in all his projects. In the world of filmmaking and documentaries, he is a visionary,” Grazer and Howard said. “We have enjoyed our successful collaborations over the years, and are excited for what is to come in the future.”
Imagine has stepped up its pursuit of documentary projects following the success of the Howard-directed feature “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” in 2016. Wilkes and RadicalMedia produced Howard’s first foray as a docu filmmaker on 2013’s “Jay-Z’s Made in America.”
“Partnering with Ron, Brian and Michael has been a life-long dream of mine and to have an opportunity to expand their stellar brand in a new genre is an exciting proposition,” Wilkes said. “Imagine Docs aims to be a welcoming home for filmmakers and tap into the vibrant entertainment community in New York.”
Wilkes’ long list of producing credits in recent years includes such notable features as Liz Garbus’ “What Happened Miss Simone,” David Letterman’s Netflix series “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” Dawn Porter’s “Bobby Kennedy for President,” and Joe Berlinger’s “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.” On the branded content side he produced SundanceTV’s “Iconoclasts” series for Grey Goose Vodka as well as programs for clients such as Nike and American Express.
Wilkes will transition out of his role at RadicalMedia over the next few months. He will remain a producer on a slate of ongoing RadicalMedia projects.
Deadline first reported this news.