Film-makers have paid tribute to British producer Mark Shivas, who has died of cancer aged 70.

Shivas, who died peacefully amongst family on Saturday October 11, was one of the principals in production company Headline Pictures. An immensely popular producer and one time Head of Films at the BBC, he worked with many of the best British directors of his era as well as with several international names.

His friend and colleague Stewart Mackinnon, chief executive of Headline said of Shivas, 'He had a very good judgement of people. What is extraordinary is that he was liked and loved and respected by everyone in this business. That's what is so unusual. It is very difficult to go through this business without falling out with people.'

Mackinnon revealed that Shivas had been working on new projects until close to his death. Among the last films that Shivas was helping develop was Reykjavik, a drama about the end of the Cold War that Ridley Scott has now signed on to direct. Shivas was also heavily involved in Quartet, a new film project adapted by Ronald Harwood from his play and developed with finance from BBC Films.

Other tributes included director Stephen Frears and producer Lynda Myles both of who worked with Shivas on The Van.

Myles paid tribute to Shivas' trust in those he worked with. 'He left you space to develop and sometimes to screw up. It was never about ego, it was always about the work. He created an arena in which people could do their best work,' she said.

Myles added that Shivas was receptive to projects that weren't to his own taste, provided that filmmakers could convince him of their quality. 'That was why people wanted to work with him again and again.'

Stephen Frears commented 'He was on the side of the angels,'.

Shivas' engagement with cinema began in his student days when he began writing film criticism for university magazine, Oxford Opinion. He was one of the founders of Movie, a British film magazine strongly influenced by Cahiers Du Cinema.

As a journalist, Shivas wrote film stories and interviews for the New York Times and directed and produced for Granada Television in the sixties. He produced and then presented Granada's weekly programme Cinema.

His credits as a drama producer for BBC Television in the 1970s included, Frederic Raphael's The Glittering Prizes as well as several films by Alan Clarke, including To Encourage The Others and Funny Farm.

Shivas was producer or executive producer of such films as Nic Roeg's The Witches, Anthony Minghella's Truly Madly Deeply, Jerzy Skolimowski's Moonlighting, Frears' The Van, Gillies Mackinnon's Small Faces and Tim Fywell's I Capture The Castle. He was responsible for starting BBC Films as a stand-alone operation in the early 1990s and for enabling many British filmmakers to make theatrical movies rather than being confined to working for the small screen.

In recent years, he was also instrumental in helping Headline secure the rights from Great Ormond St hospital to the Peter Pan book sequel, Peter Pan in Scarlet.

Shivas leaves behind his civil partner of eleven years Karun Thakar.