Kurt Kuenne

Kurt Kuenne
Nationality American
Occupation Filmmaker, composer, writer
Notable work Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Kurt Kuenne is an American filmmaker and composer. He has directed a number of short and feature films, including Rent-a-Person, the YouTube film Validation, described as "a romantic epic in miniature",[1] and the documentary Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.[2]


Kuenne grew up in Northern California, and began making films aged seven on Super 8 film and later video. He studied film at University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television, where he made Remembrances (1995) and was awarded the Harold Lloyd Scholarship in Film Editing.[3] Kuenne then studied film composing, but returned to directing with feature Scrapbook (1999). In 2002 he was awarded an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting for a script titled Mason Mule.[4]



Validation (2007), written, directed, and scored by Kuenne, was distributed through Gay Hendricks's Spiritual Cinema Circle and is a short film about a parking attendant (played by T. J. Thyne) who dispenses compliments to his customers.[5] It won Best Short Grand Prize at the 2007 Heartland Film Festival, and The Independent Critic rated it A+.[6] It has received over 8 million YouTube views.[7]

Dear Zachary

Kuenne's documentary Dear Zachary (2008), about the murder of his childhood friend Andrew Bagby,[8] was received as a documentary that "will rip you apart inside and pour your guts out through your tear ducts".[9]


His latest feature film Shuffle (2011) again stars T. J. Thyne, playing a man who finds his life running out of sequence.[10][11] It won the Jury Award for Best Feature at the 17th Stony Brook Film Festival.[12]


  1. Brown, Lane, "Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne Punches Your Stub", Vulture.com, February 2009.
  2. Sartin, Hank, "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father", Time Out Chicago, Issue 193: November 6–12, 2008.
  3. Dawson, Nick, "KURT KUENNE, “DEAR ZACHARY: A LETTER TO A SON ABOUT HIS FATHER”", Filmmakers Magazine, October 31, 2008.
  4. "Academy Nicholl Fellows 1986–present". Oscars.org. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  5. Ford, Arielle, "FREE FILM ONLINE: Validation: Interview with Writer/Director Kurt Kuenne".
  6. "Validation" review, The Independent Critic.
  7. "Validation" by Kurt Kuenne, You+Dallas.
  8. Tsai Martin, "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father is a Lifetime in the Making", Village Voice, October 29, 2008
  9. Campbell, Christopher, "Doc Talk: Who Wants to Cry at the Movies?", movies.com
  10. "New Film from Kurt Kuenne and TJ Thyne 'Shuffle'", CNN, August 30, 2012.
  11. "Shuffle", Santa Cruz Film Festival Festival Genius, 2012.
  12. "17th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival Winners", Stony Brook Film Festival.
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