Amsterdam, 5 november 1965 - Bangkok, 5 april 2009
Deeply saddened we confirm that Fortissimo's company founder and co-chairman Wouter Barendrecht suddenly died on Sunday April 5 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Wouter's passing has shocked his family, his friends and colleagues around the globe.
His passion for cinema, his vision, his energy and his witty humor will be extremely missed by all of us.
On this Memorial website you can share your thoughts and memories with us.
The Fortissimo Family
As I’ve thought about Wouter this sad last week and recognized him through so many other eyes in this unsurprisingly vast global register of condolences, there’s one picture that’s kept jostling its way to the front of my own two decades of memories of him. Simply, I guess, because it’s typical. We’re sharing a cab into town – probably it’s Toronto. In the course of a 45 minute trip he makes and takes maybe eight or nine chuckling, bantering calls in almost as many languages. It’s becoming a crowded cab: each caller is named to me and described with relish, and a certain happy pride in possession. If I haven’t already had the pleasure, then I will. He’ll see to it. This driving passion of his for showing people off to each other strikes me now as germane to his particular brilliance. It was carried off with a gusto that could never be mistaken for calculation and an impulsive expansiveness that often flouted convention. The fruitful relationships, in business, art and life, that grew in the light Wouter shed cross numerous cultures. I never heard him regret whatever it is that gets lost in translation; rather he took delight in mining the riches that might be found there. Moviegoers everywhere can be grateful. That such an irresistible force can be stilled is mighty hard to bear. Already it’s clear that the light he shed for and on so many of us will not be terminated so swiftly
Such a shock! We knew eachothers for 20 years and his passion for films and his respect for our friendship, was so inspiring. Everytime we meet I left happy and with new ambitions. Rest in peace, Wouter. I will never forget you. Gunnar C.
Dear Wouter, It is indeed shocking news to our people. We've been very enjoying to share your great films for more than 10 years and always very proud of this fact. Please accept our deepest sympathy.
It has been a sad week, and the reality has only begun to sink in. My deepest condolences to Wouter's family, Michael, and the entire Fortissimo team. Wouter's legacy shines not only on a professional level, where he has contributed so much to promoting Asian cinema across the world, but also on a personal level, where he touched the lives of so many with his generous friendship. May you rest in peace.
Heejeon Kim(CJ Entertainment)
It is still very difficult to describe the shock and sadness. Thank you for everything you've done for cinema. Our deepest sympathy for his family, friends and colleagues....
Wouter, I'll never forget you looking after me when I was surrounded by strangers, at my very first film market party. Its hard to believe that you are no longer with us. You were a unique individual.
Thank you so much for all your support. God bless and rest in peace. We will miss you
Pui Mee Chan
Hi lieve Wouter, altijd een glimlach als ik een sms-je kreeg om hapje Thais, meidenavond bij Nelleke of whatever in Hong Kong of Amsterdam te doen. En natuurlijk gaan we een feestje bouwen vrijdag: op jou en met jou! Liefs, Pui Mee
I used to be so intimidated by you. This tall Dutchman that every person I had the utmost respect for respected. You were the ED for the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, though you were too busy to be actively involved, you would always respond to our emails asking for help. I still haven't met you then, not beyond a professional nod and handshake...but I did know that when you sent emails off on our behalf, the people who ignored us for weeks would respond within a day. That made me even more afraid of you. I couldn't remember exactly when we became closer, but whenever it was, it happened quickly. Soon you invited me to drinks, then lunches and dinners...and then there was my birthday in 2007. I remembered we were at Zuma, and you kept trying to get me to go pee...I suspected you were planning something, and next thing I knew you gave me the 'birthday slut' crown and your present. I was your slut, Aussiepuki, ACTS, potje...and after being mistaken for Mrs Barendrecht on our flight to Taipei, you became my wife since I was the butch potje and Hubby Ho had a nice ring to it. My relationship with you was always more personal than professional, and I am, and will forever be, so grateful for all the friends you brought into my life. As I think of you now, it's funny how many more smiles you brought out of me than tears. That time you didn't know how to add friends on facebook and you told me to "be a lesbian and do it for [you]". That time when you didn't know how to turn on your remote speakers and play your iPod, when you couldn't turn on iTunes, when you asked me to call you while I was in Toronto so you could find your phone, or when you called me from Cuba...oh, what an adorable nerd you were. Then there were those moments that you were there for me when I needed you...when I was upset and you kept me company, those days at Joe's when we drank white wine and watched Pulp DVDs, that time you came to a potje party with me to promote the HKLGFF because I was scared to go on my own and you were horrified when one of them thought you were a straight man. Your totally unhelpful dating tips..."I don't know whether she likes me" and you would advise me, "Just GRAB her TITS and poke her PUKI!!!" And I will not forget the countless acts of generosity you have shown me...Your perfect woman and school girl uniform to sustain me during fests (You're probably right...I am likely too fat to fit in it.) The day at TIFF last year when you gave me your hotel room key so I could rest when I had a break. That helped me survive. So many more memories, so many more things I could say to you. So many things we were gonna do together...I can't process them all now or I would break again. Right now, all I remember were the final message I sent to you, and your response. I wish we could have more conversations together, and we will when we meet again. Your final words to me would carry me there. My world won't be the same without you, but at least I had you in my world, and I will forever be grateful for that. until we meet again, your Veechee
koo sok mien
I have never really interacted much with you. However, the short span of time during our meetings make me realized that you are a fervent believer in asian films. Your vision has inspired me to see things beyond work, to hold onto something passionate: Live Life to the fullest.
I was shocked by the sad news! My condolence goes out to Wouter's family, friends and colleagues. I think the film foundation is a wonderful initiative. It will remind us of Wouter's great achievements!
Mary Jane Skalski
i am finding every day harder since i heard the news. at first it was just too shocking to feel real. it's too hard to comprehend how someone so alive in my mind and my heart can be gone. my story with wouter echos so many others -- from the moment i met him he acted like we were old friends. i think marcus hu told him to take care of me when i went from sundance to rotterdam for the first time. Like Paul Federbush, wouter invited me into the fortissimo family as a consultant when I was a lonely producer working out of my apartment. At that time with offices in hong kong, amsterdam, sydney, london and me in new york it was certain that at all times someone from fortissimo was working. More often than not it was wouter - where are you? - I'm in the airport in sydney... I'm in sao paulo... in hong kong - wherever he was, he was engaged. I remember wouter telling me about 'wireless' when it was some fancy new concept. I thought we'd all grow old together. Marcus and I joked many years ago -- would we still be do this in 20 years -- and it's almost 20 years later and here we are. I can't believe wouter isn't here. I can't believe I won't see his number on my caller id, won't pick up the phone and hear that voice 'it's wouter' won't send out an email and get an immediate and cheeky response. I can't believe I won't see him in toronto, won't complain to him when he tells me he isn't coming to sundance, won't eat that crazy cheese spread at the georgian or those odd little dutch appetizers with him. I can only hope there is a heaven where he is meeting all the other people I love that have passed on, and since he is wouter they are all following him 'just up here, and I think to the right' to some fantastic restaurant that somehow, of course, he knows about. Wouter always loved a new place, I know wherever he is, he is loved and i hope he is having a fantastic time. I will always miss him.
You brightened the days of your friends and colleagues with warmth and humour. You brought joy and inspiration to people around the world, and the visions you helped to create are an incredible legacy. Thank you Wouter, for having enriched so many lives.
Wouter's enthusiasm was such an inspiration - he will be missed. My thoughts are with his friends, family and everyone at Fortissimo.
Dear Wouter - You always have inspired and motivated me that will be long lasting memory for me. My deepest condolences to Michael, your family, friends and Fortissimo family.
Sincere and most deeply-felt condolences to the Barendrecht family and the Fortissimo gang. No word can convey the sadness, and anger, we all felt when we heard of Wouter’s demise. Gone are the angelic smile and the mischievous glint, gone are the dinners in Cannes, the breakfasts in Rotterdam, the drinks in Berlin, Toronto, New York, you name it; Gone are the long and heated discussions about films – old, new, and yet-to-be-made. Gone are the instant messages that popped up on your computer from wherever he was – and he was always a few steps ahead of us – to tell you about a filmmaker (“unknown right now but not for long”) or a film that he “couldn’t wait for you to see”. So much to learn from him, still, that we never will. Such a cultural loss. Gosh, I hope they have Skype in the sky, I can’t wait for his next IM to pop up!
Selfishly and to my great regret, Wouter was someone who I always meant to see more of, get to know better, spend more time in his lively presence, benefit from his unerring taste...and now it's too late. A great loss to all of us and to the filmmakers he would have championed over the next decades.
My wife and I just met Wouter at Filmart. I tell my wife about this, we all feel so shocked, so sad... It extremely reminds us life is not just work. RIP...
I am deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of my kind and very understanding boss, my prayers and thoughts will be of those family and friends he left behind. I surely will be missing you..
Jeroen en Christine
Wouter ik weet niet of je dit kun lezen of horen maar we weten dat je nu boven bent en wensen je een goede reis en rust zacht beste vriend. Jeroen Lezer en Christine Hakim, Jakarta Indonesie
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