You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlinale Chief Bids Festival Fond Farewell at Variety Award Event

Receiving Variety‘s Achievement in International Film Award, Berlin Film Festival chief Dieter Kosslick bid a fond farewell to the event Monday as the end credits loom after his good humored and productive 18-year epic reign.

Speaking at the prize-giving event Monday at the Audi Berlinale Lounge – which overlooks the entrance to the fest’s main venue, the Berlinale Palast – to a hand-picked crowd of colleagues and industry friends, including actress Tilda Swinton – Kosslick said he was “honored” and “moved” to receive the award, as he gazed out wistfully through the window at the red carpet.

“It was 18 years of excitement and it was also really fun,” he said. In recent days, as people said goodbye, he had “become a little melancholic,” he said, but considered it to have been “a privilege” to run the festival.

Kosslick said this would have been beyond his wildest dreams when he started going to the cinema in his home village as a six-year-old, every Sunday afternoon, with a ticket costing one Deutsche Mark, given to him by his mother. He joked that those visits may have actually been prompted by his mother’s desire to spend the afternoons alone with her new boyfriend. “So, in a way, I am a product of love,” he said, as well as “a love of cinema.”

Kosslick said that he was still “disappointed” that no one laughed at his joke at last year’s opening night when the ceremony’s host Anke Engelke asked him on stage: “What is the name of Lars von Trier’s dog?” and he replied spontaneously, “Dogme.”

Despite the poor audience response, Kosslick insisted that this joke was one of his best. “I completely understand that most of my jokes you can’t laugh [at them], but you can pretend and say you liked it.”

Delivering the award on behalf of Variety, the paper’s Asia Editor, Patrick Frater, said: “Film festivals, like films themselves, are strange, powerful and intangible forces. To succeed, festivals need to make smart selections, of course. And to be professionally managed. Of course. The very best festivals actually have character.

Dieter Kosslick has shared some of his own personality, and over a period of 18 years has given character to this festival. To such a point that, along with the bears on loan from Berlin city zoo, Dieter’s hat and red scarf have become one of the icons of Berlin.”

Frater described Kosslick as “a complicated character” – to which Kosslick quipped: “This is what my shrink always says: ‘It would be much cheaper for you if you were a little bit simpler.”

Frater referred to Kosslick as a “committed European” – to which Kosslick responded, “Yes, it’s true, I like German and European culture … and Germany is not leaving [Europe],” referring to Brexit, which was greeted with wild cheers.

Frater said: “Dieter is an enthusiast, who can win new friends with just a twinkle, or a wonderfully over the top compliment.

“He is also a clever consensus builder, who listens carefully even while he is the one making the jokes. Dieter is above all a compelling communicator. Even as he mangles language or makes far-fetched suggestions, he draws people in.” To this last sentence, Kosslick responded: “This is not true.”

Frater also spoke of Kosslick’s career before joining the Berlinale, included his time in charge of the German regional film fund Filmstiftung NRW, and as chief of the European Film Distribution Office, where he was a “pioneer” in pan-European film distribution.

Variety Award

Dieter Kosslick greets his old friend Tilda Swinton (Photo: Courtesy of Variety/Kurt Krieger)

Variety Award

Constantin boss Martin Moszkowicz with comedy actress Anke Engelke and Venice chief Alberto Barbera (Photo: Courtesy of Variety/Kurt Krieger)

Variety Award

“Brecht” actress Maria Dragus with “3 Days in Quiberon” director Emily Atef (Photo: Courtesy of Variety/Kurt Krieger)

More Film

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan's Hitman Drama 'Silver Bear' Gets Director

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan’s “The Silver Bear” finds a director, biopic “Running for My Life” is in the works, Fox is using new trailer compliance software and the 14-hour “La Flor” gets distribution. DIRECTOR ATTACHMENT Gerard McMurray, director of “The First Purge,” will write and direct Michael B. Jordan’s thriller “The [...]

  • Kevin Costner Diane Lane

    Kevin Costner, Diane Lane to Reunite in Suspense Thriller 'Let Him Go'

    Focus Features has tapped Kevin Costner and Diane Lane to star as a husband and wife in the suspense thriller “Let Him Go.” The two also collaborated on “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Thomas Bezucha (“The Family Stone”) is set to direct his own screenplay, based on Larry Watson’s novel [...]

  • Chris Hemsworth Hulk Hogan

    Chris Hemsworth to Play Hulk Hogan in Biopic for Netflix

    Netflix is in the early stages of developing a Hulk Hogan biopic with Chris Hemsworth attached to star as the wrestling legend and produce. Netflix has obtained the exclusive life rights and consulting services from Terry Gene Bollea AKA Hulk Hogan. Todd Phillips, whose credits include “War Dogs” and “The Hangover” trilogy, is attached to [...]

  • Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant

    Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant Winners

    Swedish documentary filmmaker Anastasia Kirillova and “Negative Space” co-directors Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are among the filmmakers who will receive grants from Rooftop Films to help complete their upcoming projects. Kirilova will be awarded $20,000 to finish her film, “In the Shadows of Love,” while collaborators Kuwahata and Porter will receive $10,000 for “Dandelion [...]

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

  • Leave No Trace

    Oscar Analysts Are Sincere -- but Often Totally Wrong

    With Oscars arriving Feb. 24, we can expect multiple “who will win/who should win” columns. There will also be a flurry of post-show analyses about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and why members voted the way they did. Since AMPAS never releases polls or voting tallies, these pundits will never be contradicted [...]

  • Green Book spiderman into the spider

    On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    We continue to live in a divided world, with the current political landscape in the United States a seemingly endless hotbed of tumult and acrimony. Issues of racism, bigotry, diversity and gender equality drive the creative players as well, with Oscar-nominated films parlaying said themes into compelling, thought-provoking cinema. To analyze 2018 in big-screen entertainment, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content