Freelance producer for KQED dies in Oakland fire

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Alex Ghassan, a freelance filmmaker for KQED in San Francisco, has been confirmed among the dead in a fire at an Oakland warehouse Friday that killed at least 36 people.

The fire broke out during a dance party in the “Ghost Ship,” described by CNN as a “rare haven in the Bay Area’s gentrifying landscape” for artists who lived and worked there.

Ghassan attended the event with his fiance, who has not been seen or heard from. He appeared to post video to Instagram of the event prior to the fire.

Oakland reminds me of #JerseyCity so much at times. . #Oakland #California #TheBayArea #TheTown #TownBiz #LoftLife

A video posted by AlexG_Director (@alexg_director) on

Ghassan, 35, had worked for KQED since November 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. He pitched and created content to attract a “younger hipper audience” for the station’s arts department. “I manage teams, hire crews, or work Independently to create projects from start to finish including post production,” he wrote.

Here’s a piece by Ghassan about an illustrator/designer trying to make it in the Bay Area.

Ghassan also worked on commercial films with hip-hop artists in New York. His mother told NBC 4 New York that he supported up-and-coming producers.

“My son is absolutely phenomenal,” said Emilie Grandchamps of Orange, N.J. “He’s an artist at heart, a wonderful dad, a wonderful son, a wonderful friend.”

KQED posted a tribute to Ghassan, describing him as a brilliant cinematographer who didn’t mince his words or cloak his affections. “Alex was whip-smart with an insatiable appetite for the next amazing opportunity, most of which he imagined through the lens of camera,” wrote close friend David Markus. “He was always looking for something — something new, yes, but more something that would rock him down deep.”

Ghassan’s survivors include twin daughters in Hoboken, N.J.