Barendrecht remembered in Hong Kong

Fortissimo founder died suddenly April 5

HONG KONG -- Treated more like a movie premiere than a funeral, sales agent and indie film producer Wouter Barendrecht was given an upscale send off Friday in his adopted Hong Kong.

Complete with a press call beforehand and celebrities from around Asia in attendance, the memorial service at the glitzy W Hotel fluctuated between 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, movie directors Peter Chan Ho-sun, Iwai Shunji and Apichatpong Weerasethakul and senior producers Bill Kong and Nansun Shi. Ace cinematographer Chris Doyle lightened proceedings by inviting the 200-odd guests to sign his coat.

Barendrecht's business partner and Fortissimo co-chair Michael J. Werner said that the 18-year-old firm will continue. "This is a strong and capable company, with four films at Cannes," he said.