Thai producer Duangkamol Limcharoen, a leading figure in the pan-Asian filmmaking movement, has died following a brief fight against cancer. She was 39 years old.
A former TV producer, Limcharoen founded Thai film company Cinemasia in 2000 with the aim of producing pan-Asian co-productions and expanding the market for Asian films. Her recent credits include award-winning collaborations such as Last Life In The Universe - involving talent from Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan - and successful genre titles such as pan-Asian horror omnibus Three.
Emerging in a country that has no strong tradition of female producers, Limcharoen has also been credited with helping to revive the Thai film industry. Earlier productions such as Jan Dara - directed by her partner in Cinemasia, Nonzee Nimibutr - and Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Mon-rak Transistor, helped propel Thai cinema onto the world stage.
A popular figure in the Asian film industry due to her humour, integrity and warmth, Limcharoen - or Aom as she preferred to be called - was recently awarded Producer of the Year at the CineAsia convention in Bangkok. The award was handed to her by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai who described her as "one of Asia's brightest lights".
Her untimely death has devastated her many friends and colleagues across Asia. Fortissimo Films co-chairmen Wouter Barendrecht and Michael Werner described her passing as a "major loss for the Thai film industry where she accomplished so much as a producer and promoter of new Thai cinema in such a short time."
"Her death will also prove to be a major future loss for the film industry of Asia as all of the plans and dreams that she had for pan-Asian filmmaking will be much harder to realise without her being on the scene," Werner said.
A Buddhist funeral ceremony will be held today (Tuesday, December 9).