Venice topper to get Russian honor

Marco Mueller awarded Order of Friendship

ROME -- Venice Film Festival artistic director Marco Mueller will on Thursday be presented with the Orden Druzhby (Order of Friendship) honor from the government of the Russian Federation, Venice officials said Wednesday.

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev selected Mueller for the honor by decree. Mueller, who will direct his seventh edition of the venerable festival this year, will be presented the award by Ambassador Alexey Meshkov at the Russian Embassy in Rome on Thursday.

The Orden Druzhby is Russia's highest civilian honor that can be given to a foreigner. Mueller was chosen for the honor based on his work to recognize Russian cinema from his Venice Film Festival post.

The 67th edition of the Venice Film Festival will take place this year Sept. 1-11.