Daniel Toscan Du Plantier Daniel Toscan Du Plantier, president of Unifrance Film International, died suddenly yesterday in Berlin.

Toscan Du Plantier was an always colourful, sometimes controversial, character who was ideally suited to the role of promoter in chief of French cinema.

The festival immediately moved into a phase of mourning with flags flown at half mast and celebrations toned down. The Panorama section party was brought to a halt after a minute of silence and a speech by Berlin festival director Dieter Kosslick.

In a statement, Dieter Kosslick said: "I still cannot believe that my friend Daniel Toscan Du Plantier died today. He was a great producer and a great supporter of European cinema. Daniel was in Berlin to enlarge the friendship between the French and German film industries . He loved Berlin. This is a great loss to us all." Veronique Bouffard, director general of Unifrance, typified the emotional reactions at Unifrance, and was too distraught to give an official reaction.

Aged 61, Toscan Du Plantier had a career that spanned advertising, film production, head of distribution at Gaumont and from the mid-1980s he moved into music publishing as the head of classical label Erato Disques. Simultaneously he stepped up his film production activities, becoming involved as producer or co-producer of titles including Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, And Her Lover, Michel Blanc's Grosse Fatigue and Frederic Mitterand's Madame Butterfly.

At midday today, the festival will programme a special screening of Tosca, by Benoit Jacquot, one of Toscan Du Plantier's most acclaimed pictures, at Berlin's Paris theatre.