Veteran American publicist and producer Richard Lormand, a well-loved fixture on the international festival circuit, where he was instrumental in launching and championing scores of auteurs such as Fatih Akin, Amos Gitai, Lav Diaz and Alice Rohrwacher, has died.
Lormand, who was based in Paris, was 56. The cause of death was complications from cancer. Lormand, a tireless promoter with a genuine passion for film, had been fighting the disease for the past year while working almost nonstop at the Berlin, Locarno, Venice and San Sebastian festivals, among other events, his assistant, Federico Mancini, said in a statement.
Lormand’s FilmPressPlus slate announcements, which generated genuine buzz among many critics and journalists, always opened with an affectionate “Bonjour Film Lovers!” Over the past 25 years, he handled several Palme d’Or, Golden Lion and Golden Bear winners, such as the Taviani Brothers’ “Caesar Must Die,” which took the top prize in Berlin in 2012.
Lormand was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1962, and was raised outside the city by a Japanese mother and a French-speaking Cajun American father. He began his career in the media as a reporter for Reuters in New York, then decided that the Manhattan rat race wasn’t for him and relocated to Europe, initially in Rome, where he started working as a consultant for film festivals, including Cannes, Taormina, Torino and the Viennale.
Having developed a wide network of contacts, he segued into representing talent at international festivals. Thanks to his increasingly top-notch choices and his professional, compassionate and witty personality, Lormand established himself as one of the most respected publicists on the circuit of fresh indie fare from all over the world.
“He was a real film lover, always passionately engaged, had a great sense of humour and a big heart,” Frauke Greiner, head of press for the Berlinale, tweeted Friday.
The roster of more than 80 directors whom Lormand represented over the years includes Germany’s Maren Ade; Japan’s Takeshi Kitano, whose 1997 Golden Lion-winner “Fireworks” (“Hana Bi”) he handled; Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul; Italy’s Matteo Garrone; Spain’s Lucretia Martel; and Russia’s Alexander Sokurov.
In 1994, Lormand wrote and directed an award-winning short titled “Ti-Boy’s Wife,” which screened in Locarno. More recently he worked closely with Locarno and also with the Marrakesh International Film Festival, which he was helping to relaunch.
Lormand is survived by his partner, André Labouri, and his mother, Hana.
There will be a private ceremony in Paris next week. An informal industry gathering is being arranged to mourn Lormand at the Berlin Film Festival next February.
Tributes have been pouring in on Twitter.
Truly saddened by the passing of Richard Lormand (@FilmPressPlus), the hardest-working, most passionately invested publicist on the festival circuit. He consistently took chances on challenging films he believed in, and worked his ass off to make them seen. I’ll miss him greatly.
— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) November 15, 2018
So sorry to hear about Richard Lormand, a film publicist of wit, compassion and fine judgement, whose pre-fest press releases genuinely got you buzzing to see his slate. Urbane, cosmopolitan, he’ll be missed.
— Jonathan Romney (@JonathanRomney) November 15, 2018
So sad to hear of the death of Richard Lormand. A recent "proper" meeting in San Sebastian made me imagine a giggly, excitable professional relationship that would last for years. I am so sorry we're not going to have that chance, and jealous of the many who had. He really cared.
— Jessica Kiang (@jessicakiang) November 15, 2018
Very saddenend by the passing of my dear friend and colleague #RichardLormand @filmPressPlus He was a real film lover, always passionately engaged, had a great sense of humour and a big heart. I will miss him very much
— Frauke Greiner (@FraukeGreiner) November 16, 2018
Richard was bloody good at what he did and agree he was “ warm and gracious”. He had a delicious sense of humour. RIP Richard Lormand.
— Baz Bamigboye (@BazBam) November 16, 2018