American-born Michael J. Werner is a Hong Kong-based veteran of the international film industry with more than 35 years of experience in international film sales, marketing, production and consulting, specialising in the Asia-Pacific region.
Werner started out at LA-based companies, including Manson International and Cineplex Odeon International. He later worked or consulted for Polygram, IBM, The Sunshine Group/CineAsia and 20th Century Fox International as the co-head of the Asia/Pacific Region. He joined Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Film Sales, as an external consultant in 1995 and became a partner in 2000. Fortissimo Films specialises in independent Chinese, Asian, and global cinema and over the years. Werner has worked with and represented films from numerous award-winning Chinese and Asian filmmakers, including Wong Kar Wai, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Jiang Wen, Fruit Chan, Tsui Hark, Peter Chan, Zhang Yang, Zhang Yuan, Juno Mak, Diao Yinan, John Woo, Terence Chang, Bill Kong, Nansun Shi, Jacky Pang, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Takashi Shimizu, and Christopher Doyle, among many others.
In recent years, Werner and Fortissimo Films have financed and produced 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.
Werner, along with his late colleague Wouter Barendrecht, has received numerous awards for their contribution to world and specifically Asian cinema including those given by the Chicago Film Festival, the Bangkok Film Festival, CineAsia, the Hong Kong-based Asian Film Awards, the Udine Film Festival and the Montreal International Film Festival.