Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg veteran was most recently MD of Berlin-based PRIMEHOUSE.

The film communities of Germany and India, in particular, as well as further afield will be saddened to hear the news of the sudden and unexpected death of Frank Stehling.

Stehling, 57, died on Wed, 2 July, following a heart attack.

Active in the film industry for over 25 years as an author, director and producer, Stehling also worked for 10 years at the Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg (later known as Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg) where he was responsible for the production funding department and the MEDIA-funded programmes.

His time at the film funder also saw him serving as a board member of the Berlinale Talent Campus and masterminding the Berlin Today Award, which has become an international launchpad for new talents.

In 2005, he left the Medienboard to set up Berlin-based PRIMEHOUSE which developed the links between film, television and interactive media to provide producers with financial and marketing support during the project development phase.

In 2009, Stehling joined forces with Indian partners to stage the first PRIMEXCHANGE Europe-India Co-Production Workshop held during the Film Bazaar in Goa and received over  200 submissions from the various regions of India and all over Europe to participate as one of the ten selected projects in the forum.

“The workshop is focussed on assisting the producers, both European and Indian, in two respects,” he recalled in an interview on PRIMEXCHANGE’s first five years. “To gain a better understanding of each other’s markets, and then to use this new knowledge to set up co-production and collaboration between the two sub-continents.”

With the success of its first five years, Stehling introduced new complementary initiatives to extend and foster the market activities of PRIMEXCHANGE such as PRIMEPITCH, PRIMEJOBS and PRIMESALES.

PRIMEPITCH is the first Europe-India cross-continental pitching contest for feature films in development, with the winner getting a place at PRIMEXCHANGE, while PRIMEJOBS offering to mediate crew positions for European film professionals on Indian productions. 

Another spinoff from PRIMEXCHANGE, PRIMESALES, collected and offered remake rights of European films to Indian producers.

However, PRIMEHOUSE never stayed still and was constantly adapting its services and responding to the needs of its users. Thus, PRIMEACCESS was launched this spring as a follow-up consultancy linked to the PRIMEEXCHANGE workshops.

He was also a member of the European Film Academy and the German Game Developer Association (G.A.M.E.)

In a first reaction to the news, Nina Lath Gupta, managing director of India’s National Film Development Corporation said: “It’s extremely unfortunate to hear about Frank’s sudden demise. We, at NFDC have had an opportunity to work with him for several years and it’s been a delight to witness his passion for films and filmmaking closely. His outstanding contribution and support to Indian Cinema has always been overwhelming and will remain as one of the best examples not only as a partner, but also as someone who genuinely and persistently worked towards showcasing Indian talent on a global platform.”