The Asian film industry was in shock on Monday at the news of the death of Fortissimo Films founder and co-chairman Wouter Barendrecht.
During the 12 years he had lived in Hong Kong, and before when based in Europe, Barendrecht had worked with and built up close friendships with many of the leading producers, distributors and filmmakers across the region. He was a highly respected figure who had championed Asian cinema on a global stage and his unexpected death plunged the industry into mourning.
His close friend producer Nansun Shi, who worked with him on films such as Seven Swords and The Era Of Vampires, said: "Of course we know the sun will rise tomorrow, but this world will never be the same again. The inimitable Wouter, whose passion for films, his friends and life itself, has touched and changed the lives of each person who has come into contact with him. We will no longer see his cheerful self at every film-related event in the many corners of the world. But we must carry on his wishes and his work by making each film a good film. That is how he will be remembered, as though he has not left us."
Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai said: "I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Wouter Barendrecht. His life was filled with passion for cinema. He was my comrade-in-arms for many years, a friend to Asian cinema, and a great champion for independent filmmakers everywhere. His laughter and his achievements will be cherished forever."
Hong Kong filmmaker Stanley Kwan said: "On a professional level, I really appreciate what Wouter has done for Chinese movies in the international market, and know that he would have continued to do even more. On a personal level, I'm just very sad to have lost a good friend."