Fortissimo Films

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Fortissimo Films
Industry Motion pictures
Founded 1991
Defunct 2016
Headquarters Amsterdam
Hong Kong
Key people
Michael J. Werner, Chairman
Nelleke Driessen, Managing Director
Wouter Barendrecht, Founder (deceased)
Products Film production, sales and distribution

Fortissimo Films[1] was an international film, television and video sales organization specializing in the production, presentation, promotion and distribution of feature films, founded in 1991.[2][3] With offices in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London and Beijing, the company claimed to have a global presence and reach.[3]

Fortissimo Films’ library included feature films, feature-length documentaries, animated films, and short subjects. The company represented over 300 films from every corner of the globe. These included features by Wong Kar Wai (2046, Chungking Express, In The Mood For Love); Martin Scorsese (Shine a Light); John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus); Jim Jarmusch (Coffee And Cigarettes, Mystery Train); Iwai Shunji (Love Letter, Hana & Alice); Pen-ek Ratanaruang (6ixtynin9, Nymph); Tsai Ming-Liang (I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, What Time is it There?); Diao Yinan (Black Coal, Thin Ice), and Tian Zhuangzhuang (The Blue Kite, Springtime in a Small Town).[3]

Fortissimo's documentaries included Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me;[4] Andrew Jarecki’s Capturing the Friedmans; Sydney Pollack’s Sketches of Frank Gehry; Julian Schnabel’s Berlin; Tamra Davis’s Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child; and Kevin Macdonald's Marley.[3]

Additionally, the catalogue featured a range of works by directors comprising Gregg Araki, Sergei Bodrov, Fruit Chan, Peter Greenaway, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Richard Linklater, Mira Nair, the Pang Brothers, Park Chanwook, Paul Schrader, Todd Solondz, Béla Tarr, Tsui Hark, Wang Xiaoshuai, Zhang Yang, Zhang Yuan and many other acclaimed filmmakers.[5]

Fortissimo also managed existing libraries on behalf of independent producers and directors, such as Wong Kar Wai’s Jet Tone, Killer Films, Hart Sharp Entertainment and directors Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley and Alex van Warmerdam.[5]

Approximately 15 films per year were added to the lineup. Upcoming titles included Driving Back from Dubbo by Sue Brooks, Schneider vs. Bax by Alex van Warmerdam, Djinn by Tobe Hooper, Sunset Song by Terence Davies, The Time of Their Lives by Roger Goldby,[6] and How to Talk to Girls at Parties by John Cameron Mitchell.[7]

On August 17, 2016, after more than 20 years in international distribution, the company filed for bankruptcy in the Netherlands.[8][9]


Los Angeles-born Michael J. Werner has nearly 30 years experience in international film sales and consulting, specialising in the Asia-Pacific region. He joined Fortissimo Film Sales as an external consultant in 1995 and in 2000 became a partner in the company.

Werner had a prior focus on big commercial films, handling such titles as Die Hard 3, Talk Radio and Evita. As a media consultant his clients included 20th Century Fox International, IBM, Polygram and The Sunshine Group/CineAsia.

As Fortissimo has ventured more into the world of film financing and production, Werner has served as executive producer or co-producer on a number of high-profile independent films, including Shortbus, P.S., The Night Listener, Mysterious Skin, Tokyo Sonata, Invisible Waves, Springtime in a Small Town and Disgrace. With Fortissimo co-chair Wouter Barendrecht, in 2005 Werner was awarded a Silver Hugo for his contribution to world cinema by the Chicago Film Festival, and in 2006 they were jointly awarded a Golden Kinnaree for their contribution to Asian cinema by the Bangkok Film Festival.

He has lived in Hong Kong since 1995. In 2006 he became member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Executive Branch).[10]

Selected Fortissimo filmography[edit]

Older titles


  1. ^ Fortissimo Films, "MOMA, In Focus: Fortissimo Films
  2. ^ Wouter Barandrecht, Michael J. Werner - co-chairmen, Fortissimo Films, Variety; retrieved 2007-11-24 Archived October 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c d Fortissimo Films, "Company Profile", Fortissimo Films Hong Kong, 2014
  4. ^ Super Size Me, Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock
  5. ^ a b "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "Roger Goldby". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  7. ^ Fortissimo Films Up Coming Titles
  8. ^ Frater, Patrick (17 August 2016). "Sales Agent Fortissimo Films to Close on Quiet Note". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Winfrey, Graham; Winfrey, Graham (23 August 2016). "Fortissimo Films Goes Bankrupt: 3 Reasons the Respected Arthouse Distributor Lost Its Groove". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  12. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  14. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  17. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  18. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  19. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  20. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  21. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  22. ^ "Fortissimo Films". Retrieved 11 October 2016. 

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