×

Listen: Jon Kamen Takes Radical Approach to Independent Production

Jon Kamen has built RadicalMedia into a stalwart of the New York independent production scene since the early 1990s, although the company’s roots in documentary and unscripted production extend back to the 1970s.

Key to maintaining a vibrant operation is the “community-based” approach that Kamen and his partners have adopted at the company’s Greenwich Village headquarters.

As Kamen explains in the latest episode of “Strictly Business,” Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment, RadicalMedia is home to a number of “artists in residence” who have the flexibility to work out of RadicalMedia’s spacious digs in exchange for brainstorming power and other intangible benefits.

RadicalMedia, known for such documentaries as “The Fog of War” and “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and a host of unscripted docuseries, is home to post-production facilities as well as plenty of space for creative endeavors.

RadicalMedia-affiliated filmmakers including notable documentarians Liz Garbus, Joe Berlinger, and Fisher Stevens.

“Within the Radical community of talent there are always people looking for projects and working on projects,” Kamen says. “The internal conversations that take place at our company is a development process.”

RadicalMedia rode the wave of cable growth in the 1990s and 2000s, moving into unscripted and multi-part docuseries. The company developed a reputation for high-end and innovative shows such as SundanceTV’s “Iconoclasts” series sponsored entirely by Grey Goose vodka.

Now the company is adjusting to the new demands of streaming buyers. It is also focused on expanding its activity in the scripted arena. RadicalMedia has also been buoyed for years by its diversified revenue streams stemming from its work in branded entertainment, experiential and immersive event production, and even old-fashioned commercials.

“In name itself, we embrace radical change,” Kamen says. “We admit our heads are spinning at the daily announcements of yet another new way that content will be distributed. It’s crazy, it’s challenging, but it’s also exciting at the same time.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Prosecutors Make Last-Minute Move to Bolster Case

    The Manhattan D.A.’s office is making a last-minute bid to strengthen its case against Harvey Weinstein, who is set to be tried next month on charges of rape and sexual assault. Prosecutors notified the court on Tuesday that they will seek a new indictment. The D.A.’s office wants jurors to hear from Annabella Sciorra, the [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein's Autopsy Rules That He Died by Suicide

    Jeffrey Epstein’s death earlier this month has been ruled a suicide by hanging. The New York Times reported on Friday that the city’s medical examiner has officially made the ruling six days after Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. According to the Times, which cites a [...]

  • America Ferrera Eva Longoria

    America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and More Sign Letter to Latinx Community: 'We Will Not Be Broken'

    America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and more have signed a letter published in several media outlets on Friday standing in solidarity with the Latinx community. In response to the heightened tension surrounding President Trump’s immigration agenda, the El Paso shooting that targeted Latinx people and the ICE raids in Mississippi, the letter addresses the language used [...]

  • Research Firm Screen Engine/ASI Acquires TicktBox

    Screen Engine/ASI Acquires TicktBox, an Entertainment Marketing and Ticketing Startup

    Screen Engine/ASI, a market research firm that specializes in focus-group testing of movies and TV pilots, has acquired ticktBox, which operates a digital marketing and ticketing platform used by movie distributors, exhibitors, and TV networks. Terms of the deal, which closed Aug. 9, weren’t disclosed. With ticktBox, SE/ASI will have one of the largest databases of [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST

    Eric Reid, Jemele Hill – and Colin Kaepernick? - Take Jay-Z to Task Over NFL Partnership

    When news of the presumably lucrative entertainment and social-justice deal between Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL leaked on Tuesday, initially there was a surprising lack of public reaction or outcry. But after a press conference where Jay and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell officially announced the deal at Roc Nation’s New York offices yesterday — [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content