Berlin Festival Director Dieter Kosslick to Get South Korean Honor

Arno Burgi/Newscom
Dieter Kosslick

He will receive the country's order of cultural merit for his contributions to South Korean cinema.

Dieter Kosslick, the director of the Berlin International Film Festival will be honored for his contributions to, of all things, South Korean cinema.

The government of the Republic of Korea said Monday that it would present Kosslick with South Korea's order of cultural merit, the Eungwan Medal. Kim Jae-shin, the ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Berlin, will present Kosslick with the honor.

Kosslick has been a staunch promoter of South Korean films at the Berlinale, with Korean blockbusters such as Bong Joon Ho's Snowpiercer and Kang Je-kyu’s My Way (aka Prisoners of War) getting gala premieres in Berlin.

This year's Berlin lineup included such Korean titles as JK Youn's patriotic tear jerker Ode to My Father and Kim Dae-hwan's  feature debut End of Winter.

“I am grateful for this great honor. The creative power of South Korean filmmaking has been an inspiration to world cinema for many years now. I am delighted that the Berlinale has had the opportunity to present so many wonderful films,” said Kosslick in a statement.

The award announcement makes no mention of Kosslick's recent act of North-South Korean diplomacy surrounding the German premiere of The Interview. The Berlin festival director met with North Korea's ambassador to Germany earlier this year to ease diplomatic tensions ahead of the German premiere of the Seth Rogen-James Franco film, about a farcical attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Interview premiered in Germany on the opening night of the 65th Berlinale, although the film was not part of festival's lineup. The coincidence, however, led North Korea to falsely accuse the Berlinale of “instigating terrorism” by screening the film.