HKM Rolls Up Rock Fight, Ritts-Hayden

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As first reported here in November, production company HKM has completed arrangements to bring Rock Fight founders Ned Brown and Melissa White on board and to absorb the directorial roster of Hollywood production company Ritts-Hayden. Sadly, the deal was implemented just weeks before the death of celebrity photographer and Ritts-Hayden principal Herb Ritts, who died the day after Christmas at age 50. "Everyone's very excited and sad at the same time," says HKM executive producer Carl Swan. "It's so sad," adds White. "We're going to move forward, obviously, but it's sad. We were all looking forward to working together."

Under the new arrangement, Brown and White -- who left HKM satellite The Directors Bureau two years ago to form Rock Fight -- return to HKM as executive producers alongside Swan, who was named exec producer in November. Rock Fight, which is partly owned by London production house Rose Hackney Barber, will continue to exist as an independent company under the direction of HKM's management team. Meanwhile, directors from Ritts-Hayden's roster will be represented by a new division dubbed Last Night@HKM, administered by former Ritts-Hayden producer Sonja Taylor, while HKM satellite The Directors Bureau will be headed by Bureau vet Cayce Cole. Ritts-Hayden principal and executive producer Bill Hayden reportedly plans to take some time off from the business.

"I'm really excited about it," Brown says of his return to HKM. "It feels like the pieces of this strange puzzle have fallen together, and I'm excited about the future here." The combined company represents more than 30 directors, including Maggie Zackheim and Christian Loubek at HKM, Peluca and Pep Bosch at Rock Fight, Mike Mills and Roman Coppola at The Directors Bureau, and Enda McCallion and Simon West at Last Night. "I think it makes sense," says White. "It's either going to be small companies or large companies that are going to survive. The medium-sized companies are having trouble figuring out how to do that."

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