April 1, 2006
New York, US

Advertising, design, theater, documentaries, feature films; seems to do a little bit of everything. But before you call it a company of dilettantes, check out the trophy case. Among its many accomplishments, the company has won best documentary honors at the IFP’s 2005 Independent Spirit Awards for Metallica: Some Kind of Monster and the 2003 Academy Award for best doc feature for The Fog of War.

It didn’t always receive accolades. Back in the early 1990s, the then-ad company was producing traditional 30-second spots for its clients. But founders John Kamen and Frank Sherma saw changes taking place in the media landscape, which included the fragmentation of the television audience as channels grew and the Internet blossomed. Kamen and Sherma wanted to make some changes, but reception was cool. ‘We were trying to convince our clients to go beyond the commercials they did,’ says Kamen. ‘The concept wasn’t overwhelmingly appreciated.’ But some big-name magazines like Premiere and George asked @radical to produce their online versions.

By the mid-’90s recession ‘there was a drought of activity,’ says Kamen. ‘I thought I was going to shrivel up and die.’ That’s when @radical began to produce long-form, non-fiction material. The company had already produced documentary-style commercials and was familiar with the form. ‘Many artists we were familiar with were already established in that industry,’ says Kamen. ‘So it wasn’t hard to transition.’ And with several big awards under their belt, now there’s no going back.

Recent titles: Some Kind of Monster, The Fog of War
Employees: 240 worldwide
Hours this year: 36 to 40 hours of television, numerous ads
Upcoming includes: Iconoclasts (Sundance Channel), Battlegrounds: King of the Court (MTV2), various doc projects

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.