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Fortissimo kicks off busy year of 20th anniversary celebrations

Events throughout the year include HKIFF retrospective, MoMA programme and EYE masterclasses.

Multi-national sales, production and distribution company Fortissimo Films is kicking off celebrations for its 20th anniversary year in world cinema with a series of retrospectives and events.

The company is holding a party tonight in Berlin with the following events to unfold throughout the year.

  • A 12-film retrospective at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in March, ranging from 1992’s Autumn Moon to 2011’s Vampire.
  • The Asian Film Awards (AFA) in Hong Kong will present a special award celebrating Fortissimo’s contribution to the promotion of Asian cinema.
  • A retrospective at the EYE Institute in Amsterdam in September, including a special tribute to the company’s role in the development of Thai cinema, accompanied by various events including masterclasses.
  • The final celebration of the year taking place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in November, with a programme entitled In Focus: Fortissimo.

“We have much to be proud of over the last twenty years,” said chairman Michael J. Werner. “We’ve discovered new talents, influenced audience’s perceptions and tastes around the globe, won awards and broken through barriers. But as is well known, over the last couple of years we’ve had some tough times as well.”

In April 2009, Fortissimo and the industry were rocked by the sudden death of its founder Wouter Barendrecht. As Werner said at the time: “We intend to celebrate Wouter’s life and work by proudly carrying on his vision of the company and the business.”

Here in Berlin, he added, “We have indelible memories and ineffable hopes. Passing this milestone is a good time to celebrate with our friends, family and the film lovers who have supported our work over the last 20 years, through thick and thin.”

Fortissimo is in Berlin with the Oscar-nominated Winter’s Bone and five titles in official selection including the Competition title Come Rain, Come Shine directed by Korea’s Lee Yoon-ki. Fortissimo will also be premiering footage from upcoming titles such as Kevin Macdonald’s Marley, and Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmasters.
The company was founded in Amsterdam in November 1991 by the late Wouter Barendrecht, Shu Kei, and Helen Loveridge. Michael J. Werner joined Fortissimo in 1995 initially as a consultant, and became a partner in 2000.

It has offices in Hong Kong, Amsterdam, London and New York. As Managing Director, Nelleke Driessen oversees the company’s global reach, from acquisitions led by Chris Paton and Winnie Lau, to sales (Nicole Mackey), marketing (Esther Yeung), festivals (Courtney Noble and Laura Talsma) and so on.

The company has also recently clinched strategic territorial partnerships with partners such as Korea’s CJ Entertainment and Fox International Productions.

Strong supporters of world and independent cinema, Fortissimo’s titles range from Wong Kar-wai’s In The Mood for Love and Happy Together to Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, Martin Scorsese’s Shine A Light, and Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me.

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