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
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.