Los Angeles born Michael J. WERNER is a Hong Kong-based, well known veteran of the international film industry with more than 35 years experience in international film sales, marketing, production and consulting, specializing in the Asia-Pacific region.
After working with LA-based Manson International and Cineplex Odeon International, and later for 20th Century Fox International as the co-head of the Asia/Pacific Region, he subsequently joined Amsterdam headquartered Fortissimo Film Sales, as an external consultant in 1995 and became a partner in the Company in 2000. Founded in 1991, the company is well known for its commitment to original and groundbreaking films and for nurturing relationships with talented new directors and producers. Under the leadership of WERNER and the late Wouter BARENDRECHT, Founder and Co-Chairman of the Company, Fortissimo has sought out the best there is in independent Chinese, Asian, and Global Cinema. In highlighting and bringing specialized films to the world stage, Fortissimo helped to establish the ascendancy of Asian cinema that continues to this day.
In recent years, he and the Company have ventured into the world of
film financing and production, where Michael Werner has served as
Executive Producer, Co-Producer or Associate Producer on a number of
high profile independent films from Asia and around the globe including
“THE GRANDMASTER” by Wong Kar Wai, “INVISIBLE WAVES” by Pen-ek
Ratanaruang, “NORWEGIAN WOOD” by Tran Anh Hung, “SPRINGTIME IN A SMALL
TOWN” by Tian Zhuangzhuang, “TOKYO SONATA” by Kiyoshi Kurosawa,
“SHORTBUS” by John Cameron Mitchell, and more recently “LOOKING FOR
GRACE” by Sue Brooks.
Along with the late Wouter BARENDRECHT,
in 2005 WERNER was awarded a Silver Hugo by the Chicago Film Festival
for their contribution to World Cinema. In 2006 they were jointly
awarded a Golden Kinnaree by the Bangkok Film Festival for their
contribution to Asian Cinema. In 2007, CineAsia honored Werner and
Barendrecht with their Award of Excellence for “their significant
achievements in promoting and bringing Asian Cinema to the world”. In
2008, the Fortissimo Co-Chairman received the Golden Orange Award at the
International EurAsia Film Festival in Antalya, Turkey for their
“Contribution to Cinema and Art.” On the Company’s 20th anniversary, in
2011, in a televised presentation, Fortissimo’s contribution to Asian
Cinema was cited by the Hong Kong-based Asian Film Awards in presenting
Michael Werner with their Achievement Award to the Company for its
“promotion of Asian Cinema”. In 2014 Werner was presented by the Udine
Film Festival with their Lifetime Achievement Golden Mulberry Award, and
by the Montreal International Film Festival with their Grand Prix des
Ameriques for his contributions to World Cinema.
guest speaker at panels, film financing events and seminars, Werner
has also served on numerous advisory boards in Asia including Screen
Singapore’s Board of Directors, Hong Kong’s Asian Film Awards Nominating
Committee, Busan's Asian Film Market Advisory Committee, and
Singapore’s New Feature Film Fund Selection Committee.
has lived in Hong Kong since 1995. In 2006 he became member of
Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Executive