Michael J Werner

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.


A frequent 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.


WERNER has lived in Hong Kong since 1995. In 2006 he became member of Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Executive Branch).