By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz August 21, 2013 at 10:40PM
The founder of Cineart, the leading art house distributor in Benelux and owner of several art house theaters in Belgium, Eliane Dubois, has died (Aug 20) at 65 following a long illness.
We were introduced to Eliane by Edith Grante, our dear friend in Paris who at that time was buying art films for Japanese distributor Cine Saison, owned by Kuniko Tsutsumi and we were just beginning FilmFinders in 1988. She was one of our best, most loyal clients and we will miss her very much.
Eliane's career began when she acquired the breakthrough film Harlan County USA by Barbara Kopple in 1976. With what she made from that film's great success, she was able to buy the theater where it showed, a beautiful art deco theater in downtown Brussels which she proudly showed us when we stayed with her for a week.
We also took one of the best trips of our lives one year after AFM when we went with Eliane and German acquisitions exec Rudy Tjio to our magnificent Southwest, Indian country where the Navajos thought Rudy was one of them, and Eliane called her son at every stop. Cel phones didn't exist then so she always had to find a pay phone. The memories will remain but we will miss her presence in this world
Screen International has brought together leading figures in the European film industry who have paid tribute to Eliane Dubois here from Emir Kusturica, Vincent Maraval of Wild Bunch, and Sixteen Films’ Rebecca O’Brien speaking from the set of Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall in Ireland, who credits her with being "one of the key elements in that patchwork of funders that we put together who helped to do all the Ken Loach films".
Stefan Depotter and Marc Smit will continue running the company Cineart as they have been for the last three years. “We all feel like orphans…it is very, very sad and very hard to face,” Depotter said. The statement by Cineart issued on Tuesday afternoon said, “Eliane will be remembered for her great loyalty, her boundless enthusiasm, her passion for cinema and her fighting spirit.”
Depotter said that the business side of the company will carry on as normal.
“She was clever and intelligent enough to prepare her process of retirement. For three years, Marc and myself started to run the company. Now that she has just passed away, luckily everything is in order in terms of administration and we can focus on our sorrow.”