Docs

Realscreen’s Global 100: The U.S.

CAMPFIRE STUDIOS (A Wheelhouse Entertainment Company) Headquarters: Culver City, CA www.campfire.us Number of hours produced in 2021: approx. 50 hours Staff: approx. 120 Recent projects: The Way Down (HBO Max); David Fincher’s Voir (Netflix); Scream: The True ...
April 5, 2022

CAMPFIRE STUDIOS
(A Wheelhouse Entertainment Company)

Headquarters: Culver City, CA
www.campfire.us
Number of hours produced in 2021:
approx. 50 hours
Staff: approx. 120
Recent projects: The Way Down (HBO Max); David Fincher’s Voir (Netflix); Scream: The True Story (Discovery+); WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn (Hulu); Hysterical (FX)
Upcoming projects: The Way Down, part 2 (HBO Max); Rudy (feature doc on Rudy Giuliani)
remnant-fellowship-church_0 (1)

Founded in 2014 by CEO Ross Dinerstein, who has produced or exec-produced more than 40 series and films during the past 18 years, Culver City-based Campfire had its biggest year in 2021. It premiered three docs at SXSW in March of last year (Hysterical; WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn and The Lost Sons, produced with Raw for CNN) and delivered what turned out to be HBO Max’s most-watched docuseries launch to date, The Way Down (pictured above). That project, exploring the alleged cult-like practices of a Tennessee-based church and its charismatic leader, was helmed by acclaimed doc-maker Marina Zenovich and will spawn a sequel, also set for HBO Max.

In 2019, Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Group bought a majority stake in the company, giving it the extra boost needed to advance its positioning as a premium prodco in the scripted and non-fiction genres. 2022 has kicked off promisingly for the company, with two high-profile docs — the Sundance-premiering
TikTok, Boom and Netflix’s soccer series Neymar: The Perfect Chaos — making waves. —Barry Walsh

FIRELIGHT FILMS
Headquarters: Harlem, NY
www.firelightmedia.tv
Number of hours produced in 2021: 6.5
Staff: 9
Recent projects: Attica (Showtime); Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre (History Channel); Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy (Netflix)
Upcoming titles: Creating the New World: The Transatlantic Slave Trade (PBS); Sun Ra and the Rise of Afrofuturism; After Jackie (History Channel)
attica_01 (1)

Founded in 1998 by non-fiction filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Firelight Films has amassed numerous Peabody, Primetime Emmy, Sundance and IDA awards throughout the past few decades for its comprehensive body of work by and about communities of color. Many of those accolades have come via Nelson’s long-standing relationship with PBS, the home to such Firelight docs as The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and Freedom Riders.

In 2021, Firelight further expanded its scope with a wide range of buyers showcasing its content: History aired Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre (produced with Blackfin), while Netflix kicked off the year with Nelson’s incisive look at the 1980s drug epidemic, Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy.

In September, Nelson’s hard-hitting documentary on the deadliest prison riot in American history, Attica (pictured above), opened the Toronto International Film Festival, and was subsequently nominated for a best documentary Oscar. Nelson’s gifts as a director have been well documented — with Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman pointing to his “flair for making history far more interesting than the mythologies it’s cutting through” — and an increasing array of networks and platforms are taking note. BW

HOT SNAKES MEDIA
Headquarters: Greenwich, CT
www.hotsnakesmedia.com
Number of hours produced in 2021: 50
Staff: 50
Recent projects: Pig Royalty (Discovery+); My True Crime Story (VH1); Deaf U (Netflix); Return to Amish (TLC); Jaws of AlaskaMystery of the Black Demon Shark (Discovery)
Upcoming titles: Mysterious Creatures with Forrest Galante (Animal Planet); Pig Royalty season two (Discovery+); My True Crime Story season two (VH1); Breaking Amish season 11, Return to Amish (TLC)
deaf_u

Connecticut-based Hot Snakes Media had a strong year in 2021, led by the success of the breakout Netflix series Deaf U (pictured above), the buzzed-about pig competition series Pig Royalty for Discovery+, a pair of highly rated ‘Shark Week’ specials (Jaws of Alaska and Mystery of the Black Demon Shark) and the continuing success of the Breaking Amish franchise.

Co-founded by husband-and-wife team Eric and Shannon Evangelista in 2011, Hot Snakes Media has produced thousands of hours of programming, including the two highest-rated first seasons of any series in the history of both Discovery and TLC. Since the company’s inception, it has produced successful shows across genres including paranormal, true crime, doc series, unscripted and wildlife/adventure programming.

2021 also saw Eric Evangelista co-founding a new production company, Phantasticus Films, with wildlife expert Forrest Galante (of Mysterious Creatures with Forrest Galante, which premiered in the fall on Animal Planet and also streams on Discovery+). The new prodco, a division of Hot Snakes, aims to create wildlife and adventure programming with a purpose. Phantasticus also actively finances conservation work in exchange for filming rights and the ability to bring exposure to causes.

The company will see several premieres and renewals in 2022, and anticipates new talent signings for both Hot Snakes and Phantasticus. Evangelista and team also have a number of other major projects in development and production, including two new series for Discovery+. —Justin Anderson

PAINLESS PRODUCTIONS
Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA
www.painless.tv
Number of hours produced in 2021: 66
Staff: 200+
Recent projects: The Dead Files, The Holzer Files (Travel, pictured below); Reasonable Doubt (ID); Evil Things (TLC); Out There with Jack Randall (Nat Geo, Disney+)
Upcoming titles: Fright Club season two, Dead Files 200th episode (Travel); Reasonable Doubt season five (ID)
the holzer files

In a business where anything that can happen usually does, consistency is a much-valued attribute in a partner. And according to the many nominations that came in for Los Angeles-based Painless Productions from network execs and production peers, it’s a quality that the company has in abundance.

Founded 25 years ago by Jim Casey, Painless has carved out its reputation for hands-on reliability across multiple genres, with recent series such as The Dead Files for Travel and Reasonable Doubt for ID illustrating the prodco’s proficiency with true-crime and paranormal content in particular. But the company also demonstrates the ability to switch gears when needed and work across a range of subjects, from sharks (Most Wanted Sharks for Nat Geo) to sex (My Crazy Sex for LMN).

Those who put Painless forward for the Global 100 frequently cited the company’s creativity when in crunch time, as well as its trustworthiness and adaptability. One exec noted that throughout their partnership with Painless, “Jim and co. have been reliable, smart producers who know how to take a note and run with it.” And as one producer peer put it: “[For] any company to be on season 15/16 of anything is incredible — to be making shows that stand out and are still best in class is a testament to something incredibly special.”

“You’d expect me to say that working with Jim Casey and his talented team at Painless is… painless,” offered one senior-ranking network exec. “Truth is, it’s a joy.” BW

RADICALMEDIA
Headquarters: New York, NY
www.radicalmedia.com
Number of hours produced in 2021: 45.5
Staff: 100+; “vast community” of freelancers
Recent projects: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Hulu); Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (Netflix); The Me You Can’t See (Apple TV+)
Upcoming projects: Jerry Garcia documentary; Sitting Bull; Theodore Roosevelt (History Channel)
summerofsoul2

Running the gamut from acclaimed docs to cool limited series, New York’s RadicalMedia is no stranger to the Global 100. Even by its own standards, however, 2021 was a heck of a year.

Produced with Concordia Studio, Play/Action Pictures, LarryBilly Productions, Mass Distraction Media, Vulcan Productions and Two One Five Entertainment, Summer of Soul, the directorial debut from Roots drummer and music aficionado Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, came out of the gate strong with its Sundance premiere, taking the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the fest. The ebullient doc (pictured above), which unearths footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, is still racking up honors at press time, with the most recent being its Oscar for best documentary. RadicalMedia will reteam with Thompson’s Two One Five Entertainment for The League, a doc on baseball’s Negro League.

Elsewhere, the company’s partnership with director Joe Berlinger and his Third Eye Motion Picture Company struck gold with the Crime Scene franchise for Netflix. Beginning with Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, response to the project was so strong (45 million households watching in its first 28 days on the streamer) that a second series, Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer, closed out the year, and three additional seasons have been commissioned.

RadicalMedia has also continued to broaden its work with A+E’s History, with the acclaimed event series Abraham Lincoln following on from the success of its earlier presidential programming for the net, Grant. BW

SCOUT PRODUCTIONS
Headquarters: Burbank, CA
www.scoutproductionsinc.com
Number of hours produced in 2021: 45
Staff: 22 core; 10 freelancers
Recent projects: Queer Eye (Netflix); Legendary, Equal (HBO Max)
Upcoming projects: currently untitled Barney the Dinosaur doc (Peacock); The Quest (Disney+)
legendary

Not every prodco can claim the honor of having its biggest unscripted series immortalized via a Lego set. But thanks to the Queer Eye Fab 5 Loft Set, Scout Productions can add that to its list of achievements.

Of course, the huge success of the Queer Eye reboot (produced with ITV Entertainment) on Netflix across what is now six seasons is a big story for Scout, but 2021 saw success in other areas for the Emmy- and Academy Award-winning prodco as well. HBO Max has been a particularly supportive buyer, with ballroom competition series Legendary (pictured above) having a strong second season and being renewed for a third, and design competition series The Hype also scoring a third-season renewal.

Scout’s doc division will see more action in 2022, with a three-part docuseries on kids TV icon Barney the Dinosaur due for Peacock, and a limited-series collaboration with Vanity Fair based on the magazine’s coverage of the Hillsong Church scandal. All signs point to more growth for what is, in the words of a network exec, “a very creative team, always delivering high quality and inclusive content.” BW

MORE U.S. GLOBAL 100 COMPANIES

1895 Films
Calabasas, CA | www.1895films.com
Diana: In Her Own Words; The Real Right Stuff

44 Blue
(a Red Arrow Studios company)

Burbank, CA | www.44blue.com
Life After Death with Tyler Henry; Keep Sweet

495 Productions
Burbank, CA | www.495productions.com
Jersey Shore: Family Vacation; Joe Millionaire

Ample Entertainment
Culver City, CA | www.ampleent.com
The Lost Gold of World War II; The Lost Women of NXIVM

A. Smith & Co.
(a Tinopolis Group company)

Toluca Lake, CA | www.asmithco.com
American Ninja Warrior; Mental Samurai

B17 Entertainment
(an Industrial Media company)

Los Angeles, CA | www.b17entertainment.com
Craftopia; History of Swear Words

Big Fish Entertainment
(an MGM TV company)

New York, NY | www.bigfishusa.com
America’s Top Dog; Martha Knows Best;
Live Rescue

Blackfin (an eOne company)
New York, NY | www.blackfin.tv
Tiny Creatures; Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury

Blue Ant Studios USA
(a Blue Ant Media company)

New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA | www.blueantmedia.com/production/blue-ant-studios
Canada’s Drag Race (with Saloon Media); Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell

Boardwalk Pictures
Santa Monica, CA | www.boardwalkpics.com
Cheer; Chef’s Table; We Need to Talk About Cosby

Bunim/Murray Productions
(a Banijay company)

Glendale, CA | www.bunim-murray.com
The Challenge; The Real World Homecoming: New York

Citizen Jones
Los Angeles, CA | www.citizenjones.com
How to Become a Tyrant; Insecure: The End

The Content Group
(an AEG company)

Encino, CA | www.contentgroup.com
The Shaq Life; American Cartel

Critical Content
(an SK Global company)

Los Angeles, CA | www.criticalcontent.com
Celebrity Game Face; Get Organized with the Home Edit

Dorsey Pictures
(a Red Arrow Studios company)

Littleton, CO | www.dorseypictures.tv
Maine Cabin Masters; Accident, Suicide or Murder

Endemol Shine North America
(a Banijay company)

North Hollywood, CA | www.endemolshine.us
MasterChef; Lego Masters

Florentine Films
Walpole, NH | www.florentinefilms.com
Muhammad Ali; Hemingway

Fly On the Wall Entertainment
North Hollywood, CA | www.flyotw.com
Big Brother; Crime Scene Kitchen

Fremantle North America
Burbank, CA | www.fremantle.com
America’s Got Talent; American Idol (with 19
Entertainment)

Glass Entertainment Group
Philadelphia, PA | www.glassentertainmentgroup.com
Lincoln: Divided We Stand; My Life on MTV

High Noon Entertainment
(an ITV America company)

Sherman Oaks, CA; Denver, CO | www.highnoontv.com
Farnhouse Fixer; Good Bones

Imagine Documentaries
(an Imagine Entertainment company)

New York, NY |
www.imagine-entertainment.com/documentary/
Rebuilding Paradise; Julia

Intellectual Property Corporation
(an Industrial Media company)

Los Angeles, CA | www.theipcorp.com
Selena + Chef; Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer

Intuitive Content
Minneapolis, MN | www.intuitivecontent.com
What’s Eating America; How to Survive a Murder; Crash Test World

ITV Entertainment
(an ITV America company)
Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY |
www.itv-entertainment.com
Love Island; Queer Eye (with Scout Productions)

Jigsaw Productions
(an Imagine Entertainment company)
New York, NY | www.jigsawprods.com
Totally Under Control; The Crime of the Century

Jupiter Entertainment
(a Sky Studios company)
Knoxville, TN | www.jupiterent.com
Snapped; In Pursuit with John Walsh

Kinetic Content
(a Red Arrow Studios company)
Los Angeles, CA | www.kineticcontent.com
Love Is Blind; Married at First Sight

Left/Right
(a Red Arrow Studios company)

New York, NY | www.leftright.tv
The Circus; The New York Times Presents

Leftfield Pictures
(an ITV America company)
New York, NY | www.leftfieldpictures.com
Pawn Stars; Alone

Lion TV USA
(an All3Media company)
New York, NY | www.liontvusa.com
Murder Under the Friday Night Lights;
Jason Biggs’ Cash At Your Door

Lucky 8
New York, NY | www.lucky8.tv
The Food that Built America; Jane Goodall: The Hope

Magical Elves
(a Tinopolis company)

Los Angeles, CA | www.magicalelves.com
Top Chef; Nailed It!

Magilla Entertainment
New York, NY | www.magilla.tv
Moonshiners; Lakefront Bargain Hunt

MGM TV
Beverly Hills, CA | www.mgm.com
The Voice (U.S.); Shark Tank; Survivor

Muck Media
Los Angeles, CA | www.muck.tv
Trafficked with Mariana Van Zeller; Mucho Mucho Amor

Original Productions
(a Fremantle company)
Burbank, CA | www.originalprods.com
Deadliest Catch; Storage Wars

Pilgrim Media Group
(a Lionsgate company)
North Hollywood, CA | www.pilgrimstudios.com
High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine
Transformed America; Wicked Tuna

Propagate Content
Los Angeles, CA | www.propagatecontent.com
Go Big Show (with Matador Content); Untold

Red Marble Media
New York, NY | www.redmarblemedia.com
Evil Lives Here; Signs of a Psychopath

Renegade83
(an eOne company)

Sherman Oaks, CA | www.renegade83.com
Naked and Afraid of Love; My Feet are Killing Me

Sharp Entertainment
(an Industrial Media company)
New York, NY | www.sharpentertainment.com
90 Day Fiancé; Love After Lockup

Sirens Media
(an ITV America company)

Los Angeles, CA | www.sirensmedia.com
Real Housewives of New Jersey; Nikita Unfiltered; The Wedding Coach

Talos Films
New York, NY | www.talosfilms.com
Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11; Clipped!

Thinkfactory Media
(an ITV America company)
Los Angeles, CA | www.thinkfactorymedia.com
Marriage Boot Camp; Carole Baskin: Cage Fight

Truly Original Productions
(a Banijay company)
New York, NY | www.trulyoriginal.com
Real Housewives of Atlanta; Shahs of Sunset

Vox Media Studios
(a Vox Media company)
Los Angeles, CA | www.studios.voxmedia.com
Eater’s Guide to the World; Explained

World of Wonder Productions
Los Angeles, CA | www.worldofwonder.net
RuPaul’s Drag Race; Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes

HONORABLE MENTIONS – U.S.

Bodega Pictures
Los Angeles, CA | www.bodegapictures.com
Kendra Sells Hollywood; Girl Meets Farm

Everywoman Studios
Washington DC | www.everywomanstudios.com
LFG

Evolution Media
(an MGM TV company)
Burbank CA | www.evolutionusa.com
Vanderpump Rules; Botched

GRB Studios
Sherman Oaks, CA | www.grbtv.com
Intervention

Jeff Jenkins Productions
(a 3BMG company)
Los Angeles, CA | www.jeffjenkinsproductions.com
Bling Empire; Coming Out Colton

Part2 Pictures
Brooklyn, NY | www.part2pictures.com
This is Life with Lisa Ling

Profiles Television
El Segundo, CA | www.profiles-televisions.com
The Amazing Race

Stephen David Entertainment
(a Banijay company)
New York, NY | www.stephendavidentertainment.com
The Titans that Built America

Trilogy Films
(an Industrial Media company)
San Francisco, CA | www.trilogy-films.com
Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer

Warner Horizon Unscripted Television
Los Angeles, CA | www.warnerbros.com
The Bachelor; The Bachelorette

Zero Point Zero Production
New York, NY | www.zeropointzero.com
United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell (with Main Event Media); Rotten

To return to the Global 100 home page, click here.

TAGS:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
TAGS:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

Menu

Search