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Walker goes indie as Clein exits firm

Company founder to pursue new media ventures

Founder Harry Clein on Wednesday announced he is exiting the bicoastal entertainment public relations firm Clein + Walker, explaining, “I am drawn more and more into my other pursuits.” The PR vet said he will be making announcements on his “other adventures” in the next few months.

New York partner Jeremy Walker will form his own agency, Jeremy Walker + Associates, while veep Heather Burgett will continue working in Los Angeles under the Clein + White banner — the firm’s previous name.

The announcement comes on the heels of Clein + Walker’s success with Artisan’s “The Blair Witch Project,” on which the PR firm played a key role.

Clein had already announced some of his plans: He will be involved in the Los Angeles production of Joe Calarco’s Off-Broadway play “Shakespeare’s ‘R&J,’ ” an all-male version of “Romeo & Juliet” that will bow at the Tiffany Theatre this winter.

Clein has also optioned the film rights to the play and is actively pursuing new media ventures.

Walker + Associates will begin independent operations Nov. 1. Among its upcoming projects are Roman Polanski’s “The Ninth Gate” and Mary Harron’s “American Psycho,” and clients will include Edward R. Pressman Film Corp., Open City Films and “Blair Witch” producer Haxan Films.

Clein began his agency in 1981 with Alan J. Pakula’s “Sophie’s Choice.”

Starting in the mid-1980s, he and then-partner Bruce Feldman were key to promoting such films as “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Trip to Bountiful,” “Dirty Dancing,” “She’s Gotta Have It,” and, later, “Forrest Gump.”

When Cara White joined the company in 1989, their partnership helped define the burgeoning specialized-film movement. Among their films were “sex, lies, and videotape,” “Cinema Paradiso” and “The Brothers McMullen.”

Clein repped Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen on their announcement of the formation of DreamWorks.