Bart Walker and Christina Bazdekis strengthen ICM Partners' film division with clients like Lee Daniels and Julian Schnabel
Cinetic Media principal Bart Walker has joined ICM Partners as a partner, bringing along clients such as Sofia Coppola (below) and Jim Jarmusch, the agency announced on Thursday.
Cinetic's Christina Bazdekis, who counts among her clients John Turturro and Boaz Yakin, is also joining the agency in a move that strengthens both its New York office and its film division.
Walker, who began his career at ICM and has also worked at CAA, is the first partner brought in since ICM bought out private equity firm Rizvi Traverse and Jeff Berg in May, thus forging the partnership. He is ICM's 28th partner.
“Bringing Bart and Christina to the agency is an important step in growing our partnership and strengthening our motion picture department," the partners said in a statement. "Bart and Christina are known for their ability to identify and cultivate the careers of artists and their expertise in the financing and packaging of films. They are fantastic additions not only to our motion picture department but also to our New York office, which is gaining a foothold as one of the leading agency outposts on the East Coast.”
This will provide a major boost to an agency whose strength had been in television, where it represents "Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre and "Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter.
Among the others clients expected to join Walker and Bazdekis at ICM are "Precious" director Lee Daniels, Mira Nair, Sally Potter, Thomas Vinterberg and Julian Schnabel.
Walker worked as both a manager and a sales agent at Cinetic, where he helped John Sloss build out the New York-based shop. They represented the rights to successful titles like "Precious," "The Kids Are All Right" and "Exit Through the Gift Shop."
The hiring of Walker and Bazdekis comes less than a week after ICM Partners announced that former Chairman and CEO Jeff Berg and talent agent Carol Bodie were leaving the company, which has been working to build the right mix of agents for its evolving partnership.
Berg, who represented Roman Polasnki among other clients, had been looking to leave after he was not made a partner in May. Agents Nicole Clemens and Bob Broder left to work in TV, but remain close the agency, which still represents their clients.
In June, ICM Partners brought on Keyvan Pemani to run its digital department and former "Saturday Night Live" talent scout Ayala Cohen to bring in comedy clients.
The addition of Walker and Bazdekis is the first in what is expected to be a string of hires, many of which will come in the film division.
“How fortunate I am to have this opportunity to join the partnership at ICM,” Walker said in a statement. “ICM is where I learned how to represent artists and has always stood for a deep and genuine commitment to creative people. I believe that the partnership has fused this great legacy with an exciting management philosophy and entrepreneurial energy that will produce the best results for our clients. At the same time, I salute John and the passionate people of Cinetic. I have no doubt they will continue to do great work that enriches our culture.”