James Wilkes 


James received formal training at OCADU in Integrated Media, specializing in digital time-based media practices and illustration. He then spent the better part of his 20’s working in the Dark Arts (advertising) on global brands such as Microsoft, Diagio, Molson, Dairy Queen, Special Olympics, Suzuki, Adidas and Nike.  Where he learned his trade as an image-maker and storyteller.

James' ads, illustration, photography have won dozens of awards and have been featured in Shots, Luerzer's Archive, Graphis, Creativity, Art Directors and Design Club, RayGun and Applied Arts among others.

Looking to expand his storytelling, James moved into long form. First as a partner at branded content trailblazer Chokolat and then his own company Le Cheval Noir.

James has co-created, executive produced, written and directed 9 series  (doc, reality, drama and family) and 2 feature documentaries totalling 150 plus episodes that currently air in over 130 countries on such networks as Animal Planet, CBC, ESPN, NFL Films, National Geographic, History, CMT, GAC  and Machinima Prime.

James' short films have appeared in the Canadian Film Centre's World Wide Short Film Festival, SCI-FI London, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Fantasia.

In 2009 James partnered with Bruce Ellis and formed Rhino Content where they are currently in production and developing several new factual and drama projects. 

Formal Education 

  • Ontario College of Art and Design | Integrated Media Major | 1992-1997 

Continuing Education

  • HotDocs | DocLab | Director Masterclass | 2008
  • Toronto International Film Fesitval | STUDIO Program | 2012-2013 
  • The Guardian | London UK | Video Journalism and Digital Storytelling Masterclass | 2013 
  • University of Applied Sciences Potsdam | Germany |  Future of Storytelling | MOOC  / 2013-2014