Kazuko Kawakita-Shibata

Kazuko Kawakita-Shibata, 53, a leading distributor of European and art films in Japan, died of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage on June 7 at a Tokyo hospital.

Recently returned from the Cannes Film Festival, Kawakita-Shibata was a familiar presence at international festivals and markets, and had handled the films of many leading foreign directors, from Visconti to Wenders.

Managing director of Japan Film Library Council, VP of the Shibata Organization, a director of Towa Film Co. Ltd., she was the daughter of the late Towa and Toho-Towa founder Hagamasa Kawakita and his wife Kashiko.

Divorced from her first husband, film director Juzo Itami, Kawakita married Kayao Shibata, with whom she founded France Eiga Co., which became a major importer and distributor in specialized fare in Japan.

She was also involved in introducing and distributing the work of such Japanese directors as Nagisa Oshima overseas.

Greg M. Auer

Greg M. Auer, a special effects technician at Warner Bros. for 17 years, died June 12 of AIDS complications. He was 53.

Auer is survived by his wife, Linda; a son and daughter.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the Susan Lynne Pincus Endowment Fund, Southern California Children’s Cancer Service, 4660 Fountain Ave., L.A. 90029.