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World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the creative force behind the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise, are set to receive The Hollywood Reporter’s Impact Award at the Banff World Media Festival.
To honor the duo’s achievements, THR editorial director Nekesa Mumbi Moody will present the award to Bailey and Barbato, whose reality TV and other content credits over three decades include Party Monster, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Pam: Girl on the Loose, Being Chaz, Tori & Dean: Inn Love, #CandidlyNicole, I Am Britney Jean and Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes.
The World of Wonder creatives will also participate in a keynote conversation in Banff led by Moody that is likely to touch on their long collaboration with RuPaul, the face of the Drag Race franchise, and their subscription-based streaming platform WOW Presents Plus, among other career milestones.
Banff’s Impact Award is given each year to an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to screen-based entertainment. Past recipients include Julia Louis-Dreyfus; David Shore for The Good Doctor; Anthony Anderson for black-ish; Justin Simien for Dear White People; and last year, Netflix’s Bela Bajaria.
The appearance of the World of Wonder founders in Banff comes amid a rise in anti-drag show performance and anti-trans legislation pushed by conservative lawmakers in the United States. Bailey and Barbato, their RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise and MTV have joined up with the American Civil Liberties Union to back The Drag Defense Fund to support LGBTQ+ rights work.
“We are literally focused on the legal battles that are unfolding across America in a very targeted way. But this is temporary. We’re moving forward. They’re trying to move backwards. Forward movement always wins,” Bailey told THR.
The honor for the World of Wonder founders will come during Banff’s Rockie Awards gala June 13 at the Canadian Rockies event. Ahead of that gala, Banff organizers announced that Killing It and The Office star Craig Robinson will host the flagship Rockies Awards, which will also see The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Garcelle Beauvais receive the Inclusion Award, and veteran Canadian indigenous filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin pick up a Career Achievement Award.
Other prizewinners at the Rockies will be Sphere Media receiving the Innovative Producer Award after Canadian broadcaster Bell Media recently acquired a minority stake in the Transplant drama producer. And Sharon Horgan (Bad Sisters) will receive an Award of Excellence in Banff, while the Creative Voice Award will go to Jennifer Podemski, whose TV credits include Little Bird and Empire of Dirt.
May 25, 7:15 a.m.: Updated with additional details on award winners for Banff Rockies Awards.
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