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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook hires documentary chief Gargi

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s prodco Westbrook Studios, reportedly the subject of an imminent takeover, has appointed former Vice exec Jannat Gargi as senior VP and head of documentaries.

Jannat Gargi

Gargi, former VP of documentaries for Vice Studios, will take up the role later this month and will develop the company’s slate of documentaries across both features and series, according to US reports.

Before joining Vice in June last year, Gargi was head of documentary films for Vulcan Productions, where she developed and produced feature films and series such as The Reason I Jump and Body Team 12.

Prior to joining Vulcan in 2014, Gargi was VP of Alpha Cine Labs, where she led the growth of the boutique company and supported theatrical releases of films such as Beasts of the Southern Wild and Born into Brothels.

Before that, she was VP of acquisitions and development at Atom Films and held marketing roles at New Line Cinema and Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Westbrook Studios produces Netflix series Cobra Kai, based on The Karate Kid, along with Pinkett-Smith’s Facebook Watch chatshow Red Table Talks and forthcoming Richard Williams biopic King Richard, which stars Will Smith as the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

It is led by co-presidents Terence Carter and Jon Mone, who oversee television and features respectively and to whom Gargi will report.

The hire comes as former Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs are reportedly in talks to purchase Westbrook.

With backing from private-equity giant Blackstone Group, Mayer and Staggs’ as-yet-unnamed venture acquired Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine last month in a deal valued at US$900m.

Other prodcos including Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment and Ben Silverman and Howard Owens’ Propagate are said to be in Mayer and Staggs’ sights, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The duo recently helmed a special purpose acquisition company set up by US tax credit specialist Forest Road Acquisition Corp, which in June this year completed a three-way merger with health and fitness companies Beachbody and Myx.

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