Fortissimo sales exec is bid farewell

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The funeral of sales agent and indie film producer Wouter Barendrecht was treated like a movie premiere in his adopted home of Hong Kong.

Complete with a press call beforehand and celebrities from throughout Asia in attendance, the memorial service at the W Hotel on Friday fluctuated among the sad, the touching and the gushing.

The founder of Fortissimo Films, who died suddenly April 5 in Bangkok, was hailed as a pioneer of contemporary Asian cinema by the likes of CJ Entertainment vice chair Miky Lee; film directors Peter Chan Ho-sun, Iwai Shunji and Apichatpong Weerasethakul; and producers Bill Kong and Nansun Shi.

Cinematographer Chris Doyle lightened the proceedings by inviting the 200-odd guests to sign his coat.

Michael Werner, Barendrecht's business partner and Fortissimo co-chair, said the 18-year-old firm will continue.

"This is a strong and capable company with four films at Cannes," he said. (partialdiff)
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