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Jonathon Ker has a pedigree for nurturing directors, with a storied history that includes co-founding Palomar Pictures, launching the U.S. commercials arm of seminal music video shop Limelight, and serving as the first head of T.V. at BBH/London. In July, Ker re-emerged full force on the talent scene again, having joined forces with Gartner heads Don Block and Rich Carter to launch sibling boutique Tight. "In the last five years, the business has been traumatized and when that happens, people don't take risks, clients get nervous, which makes the agencies nervous," Ker observes. "People are beginning to be a little bit open-minded about who they chose, not necessarily going for the top five or top 10 directors."

That, he says, is why he's decided to enter this new venture, which will strictly adhere to its name, comprised of no more than five or six talents. Currently, the only Tight signee is former Ritts/Hayden director Iain Mackenzie, with whom Ker had teamed on Gatorade's "One World" for Element 79 and another spot for Lincoln Financial out of Martin/Williams. The pair had worked out of A.proteii, the production arm of Santa Monica based agency/production hybrid Amoeba, where Ker remains as a creative. Meanwhile at Tight, Ker has his sights on developing a roster not necessarily comprised of newbies, but of those directors he believes to be under-tapped talents like Mackenzie. That's where the hookup with Gartner comes as a huge payoff, he notes. "I think there's a sad lack of management in our business, the management of people's careers, helping people make the right choices, getting them in the right doors," Ker reflects. "I believe that's something that I've always been good at, and what I think Don and Rich are very good at." What type of roster he'll build is another issue that for now, he plans to leave to instinct. "Hungry Man is a very successful company because they know comedy, Propaganda was so successful because it was billed in the image of David Fincher. For me I'd like to say there's a formula, but there really isn't. I'm just going to survive by hopefully having good taste and choosing good directors." As for Gartner, the Tight partnership with Ker (who will also be available to work with Gartner directors) seems to be just one indication of the shop's changing topography. It also recently launched features offshoot Red Flannel, out of which director James Gartner in the fall will shoot his first feature Glory Road, with Jerry Bruckheimer.