Werner Koenig, co-founder of Germany's Helkon Media, died on Sunday after being caught in an avalanche near Verbier, Switzerland, whilst scouting locations for upcoming feature The Extremists.
The film's director, Christian Duguay, and another crew member were also present when the accident happened but remained unharmed. Helkon said in a statement that Koenig was taken from the scene of the accident to a hospital in Lausanne, where he was pronounced dead at 7:45pm.
The Extremists, a co-production between Helkon and Apollo Media, is currently in pre-production and is scheduled to shoot Spring 2001. The project tackles the subject of extreme sports, which is why extensive location scouting in the Alps was necessary, according to a Helkon spokesperson. 37-year-old Koenig, on skies at the time of the accident, was an expert skier who had been on Germany's national team.
Together with Marcus Rosenmueller, Koenig founded his first production company Koenig und Rosenmueller in 1986. The outfit, which soon became one of the market leaders in music video production, was renamed Me, Myself and Eye in 1989 and is now an international media player with offices in Munich and Hamburg. In 1991 Koenig founded Helkon Media with partner Martin Heldmann. As CEO, he was responsible for programming, production and licensing.
Helkon announced that Markus R. Reischl will take over Koenig's German responsibilities, while Christian Halsey Solomon will handle international business. Reischl is the founder of production company Kinofilm, in which Helkon holds a 51% stake. Solomon is managing director of sister company Helkon International Pictures.