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Klaus Bruene

Head of ZDF's feature film department

Klaus Bruene, longtime head of the feature film department at German pubcaster ZDF, died Aug. 2 of natural causes. He was 83 years old.

Bruene oversaw the film selection at one of Europe’s largest TV broadcasters from 1962, when the web was founded, until his retirement in 1985. He established various regular showcase slots for feature films specializing in arthouse, silent movies, controversial films, international short films and science-fiction. Directors whose films he championed — and of course, picked up for broadcast preems — include Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut, Robert Bresson, Andrzej Wajda and Luis Bunuel. He also proved far-sighted with his commitment to films from the former eastern European countries.

“With his enthusiasm for cinema, Bruene provided access to a wide range of cinema, from popular films to cinematic highlights for a broad audience,” ZDF’s managing director, Klaus Schaechter, said. Bruene was also in charge of various docs ZDF has produced had over the years.

In 1947, Bruene established the Catholic movie guide Film-Dienst, and later sat on boards of various trade and interest groups. He also recieved a papal honor for lifetime achievement.

Upon his retirement in 1985, he received from the Vatican the title of Honorary Knight of the Sylvester Order for his achievements in film.