Film Fest Programmer Ken Wlaschin Dies

Worked at London, AFI festivals as well as Filmex.

Last Updated: November 13, 2009 @ 2:18 PM

Film festival programmer, historian and author Ken Wlaschin has died. He was 75.

He died at home in Palm Springs, according to Variety.

Wlaschin, a Nebraska native, was the programmer of the National Film Theater in London as well as the London Film Festival from 1969-1984. The British Film Institute website says he was the longest-serving programmer in either position and "made an enormous contribution to the international reputation of the NFT and the LFF."

Returning to the U.S., he became interim director of Hollywood-based Filmex. Starting in 1987, he programmed the AFI Film Festival.

In the ’90s, Wlaschin became director of creative affairs at the American Film Institute and later vice chairman of the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the AFI.

Wlaschin was the author of numerous books on cinema and opera, including "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World’s Great Movie Stars and Their Films" (Bonanza Books, 1980), "Opera on Screen" (Beachwood Press, 1997); and "The Encyclopedia of Opera on Screen" (Yale University Press, 2004).

The BFI website says Wlaschin’s family in Palm Springs request a donation to a local hospice in lieu of flowers.

He is survived by his wife and son.