Christian Leonhardt, co-founder of German production and post-production unit Das Werk, died Saturday of unspecified natural causes in Frankfurt. He was 48.
Leonhardt’s 12 years in the film biz paralleled the rise and fall of Germany’s Neuer Markt segment of technology and media shooting stars. Close friends claim his sudden death came as a consequence of the stress he suffered from the bankruptcy of Das Werk last year.
Leonhardt was born and raised in Munich. After various jobs in advertisement and marketing, he established post-production company Blickwerke in 1991 with Ralf Drechsler, Stefan Jung and Stefan Jonas.
Renamed Das Werk three years on, the company kept growing throughout the ’90s, pressured by banks when it decided on a flotation in 1999. By the time it went bankrupt in the fall of last year, Das Werk held more than 50 units, joined also by Wim Wenders’ production company Road Movies and U.S. company Centropolis Effects.
“New units were acquired at too high prices, didn’t (do) what they promised, and after the markets collapsed, banks refused to finance a necessary increase of capital stock,” Drechsler observed. While Drechsler left the company, Leonhardt was gradually pushed out of responsibility in the course of the bankruptcy. “The insolvency and demise of his life’s work left him a broken man,” Drechsler said.
For a new start, Leonhardt had just joined Drechsler in Acht Frankfurt, a post-production unit Drechsler founded in May.
Leonhardt is survived by wife Monika.