Today was a black day forthe Australian film industry with the death last night of Rob Fisher, thefounding chief executive of one of only two long-standing completion bondcompanies in the country.

Fisher was known as astraight shooter and was very popular. He was a watchdog at the financial endof what is a very risky enterprise - and he could be very tough - but this wasno impediment to him forming many very warm friendships right across theindustry.

The First AustralianCompletion Bond Company (FACB) has underwritten more than half the Australianand New Zealandfilms made since 1990. It's name is in the credits of over $620m (A$800m) worthof production include Strictly Ballroom,Romper Stomper, The Piano and, more recently, JapaneseStory, Wolf Creek, Look Both Ways and The World's Fastest Indian. It has also bonded films furtherafield, including in the Czech Republic, China and Ireland.

Corrie Soeterboek, who hasworked closely with Fisher for about a decade, is expected to take over thecompany.

One of Fisher's mostendearing characteristics was that there was little separation between hisprofessional and his personal lives. He is survived by his wife Janelle, theirtwo children Paul and Lizzie, and two children from his first marriage, Stewartand Llona, who works at FACB.

The death was expected, butalso very sudden: it all started with an aggressive skin melanoma, discoveredlast year.

Many will attend his funeralon Monday in Sydney. It will be followed by a reception at Film Australia, where he was chair of the board for several yearsup until 2004.