UDINE, Italy – Michael Werner, chairman of Hong Kong- and Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films, was Saturday awarded the Golden Mulberry Award for services to Asian cinema.

The award was made at the 16th edition of the Far East Film Festival in Udine. The prize was presented on stage by Marco Mueller, artistic director of the Rome Film Festival, and by Sabrina Baracetti and Thomas Bertacche, co-heads of the Udine festival.

The presentation was made ahead of a screening of “The Midnight After,” the hit politically-tinged sci-fi film by Hong Kong director Fruit Chan. Fortissimo handles international sales of both “Midnight” and “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” the cutting edge Chinese thriller that won Golden and Silver Bears in Berlin in February, both of which screen in Udine.

“Michael and Fortissimo have been guiding lights of Asian films for us in the West and for film festivals like ours,” said Baracetti. “Michael’s willingness to take on politically challenging films makes Fortissimo the success that it is today,” said Mueller.

The company has handled over 400 films since its foundation. Some 20 of them have appeared in Udine including “Air Doll” by Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan, 2009), “All About Lili Chou-Chou” by Shunji Iwai (Japan, 2001), “Bangkok Dangerous” by Danny & Oxide Pang (Thailand, 2000), “Dream Home” by Pang Ho-cheung (Hong Kong, 2010), “Tears Of The Black Tiger” by Wisit Sasanatieng (Thailand 2000), and “Tokyo Sonata” by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan, 2008).