This obituary was updated on Nov. 3, 2003.
Alex Graf, a Columbia Pictures production manager, was killed Thursday (Oct. 16) in a car accident in China while filming “Mountain Patrol.”
According to Chinese press reports, Graf, 32, was riding in a taxi with four others — director He Ping (“Warriors of Heaven and Earth”); “Mountain Patrol” producer Du Yang; Wang Zhonglei, general manager of Hua Yi Bros., which is co-producing “Mountain Patrol; and driver Zhu Chengyuan — when the taxi swerved to avoid an oncoming truck and hit another truck parked on the side of the road.
Graf was the only person killed. Du Yang is being treated for serious injuries; the others were less severely hurt.
At the time of the accident, Du Yang was behind the wheel. He is in police custody pending further investigation.
The group was making its way back from Hoh Xil, a natural reserve in Qinghai Province’s Dulan County in northwest China, where Col was filming “Mountain Patrol.”
Graf was a production manager for Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, the only Asian production division for any of the major studios.
The company received acclaim in 2000 with Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
Graf’s most recent project was the just-released “Warriors of Heaven and Earth,” China’s official entry for foreign-lingo Oscar consideration.
In an interview last week with Malaysia’s New Straits Times, Graf discussed the challenges of shooting “Warriors” “in the middle of nowhere with camels and hundreds of extras way out in western China and the Gobi Desert.”
Speaking of the pic’s Oscar potential, he said, “Hopefully, next year I’ll be standing behind the podium onstage at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theater.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment issued a statement saying, “Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.”
(Schwankert reported from Beijing)