Radical Hunger

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A sign that reads "Radical Media, never established" hangs over the entrance of the airy Manhattan home of the by now quite well-established commercials production house. Executive producer and co-founder Jon Kamen, a 25-year industry vet, explains the statement: "I don't ever want to be the best," he says. "Our heart is in trying to be the best. Our company mantra is `How can we do it better?' It's something we've taken quite seriously in terms of keeping ourselves humble and hungry to continue to pursue excellence in whatever we do."

This year, Radical must have been starving -- it snagged the coveted Cannes Palme d'Or for the second time (having won the the first one in 1998) and topped Creativity's own Award Awards production chart. Among the shop's most memorable work this year is the Silver Pencil-lauded PBS promos shot by Errol Morris (which Kamen cites as a favorite), as well as a Gold Lion winner for Jack-in-the-Box via Secret Weapon Marketing, and Frank Todaro's Silver Lion-adorned "It's All About the Beer" campaign, for Heineken and Lowe Lintas & Partners/NY.

Home to directors like Tarsem, Morris, Todaro and Lenard Dorfman, Radical has become a veritable powerhouse in the commercials realm, boasting a global presence with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Sydney, and Berlin. But the company has also moved successfully into other arenas, having produced movies for some of its directors, including Tarsem's The Cell and Alan White's The Erskineville Kings. ESPN hired Radical to produce 32 half-hour episodes of its series The Life; the firm also did documentaries for Court TV and CBS. On the tech front, Kamen's outfit recently produced a website for Beatle George Harrison, and partnered with The New York Times and production house Dan Cohen & Sons on In the Times, a multimedia entertainment programming project.

The new efforts fit well with the company's official name -- the trademarked title is @radical.media. Kamen recalls, "When we told one of our directors in 1993 that this was going to be the new name of the company, he looked at me and said, `With a name like that, you're gonna have to do something.' "

Mission accomplished.

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