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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.”

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