Veteran international film publicist Richard Lormand has passed away aged 56 following illness.

Lormand, an art-house champion and regular fixture at major film festivals, worked in the business for more than 25 years. He and his Film Press Plus banner handled publicity on a string of award-winning movies including Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, Fatih Akin’s In The Fade, Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, Samuel Maoz’s Lebanon, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee and Takeshi Kitano’s Zatoichi.

The respected and well-liked Paris-based professional worked closely with festivals such as Locarno and Marrakech and in recent months was working tirelessly on the latter, which kicks off November 30.

Born and raised outside Lafayette, Louisiana, Lormand was the son of a Japanese mother and a native French-speaking Cajun American father. He had an international outlook from early life, which contributed to the wide network he was able to build. He began his career as a reporter for Reuters in New York, then relocated to Europe where he worked for festivals including Cannes, Taormina, Torino and the Viennale/Vienna Film Festival.

He was part of the producing teams of Mitchell Lichtenstein’s feature Teeth, Happy Tears, starring Demi Moore and Parker Posey, and Angelica, starring Jena Malone and Janet McTeer. He was an associate producer on Amos Gitai’s Disengagement, starring Juliette Binoche, and he wrote and directed the 1994 short Ti-Boy’s Wife.

The Locarno Film Festival said, “Passion, competence, professionalism. And friendship. Before he became a precious team member, Richard Lormand was a friend of the Locarno Festival. Our friend. The two years we shared as a team allowed us to observe cinema from an even closer distance. Farewell, Richard, and thank you.”

Macau International Film Festival Artistic Director Mike Goodridge, former editor of Screen International, said, “What a terrible loss to world cinema. Richard was such an intelligent, tireless supporter of his films and filmmakers. And he was such a delight to be around. It’s a very sad day.”

Producer Jeremy Thomas added, “Richard was a wonderful and very unique person. He was passionate about movies and he was a colleague and friend for many years. Filmmakers loved working with him. He was a special person and will be greatly missed.”

Lormand passed away in Paris on Wednesday, November 15. There will be small private ceremony in the French capital next week and colleagues are arranging an informal industry gathering to celebrate him at the Berlin Film Festival next February.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media over the last 24 hours from journalists and industry: