Life In Berlin: The Parents Are Happy

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Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick has a big smile on his face when he talks about this year’s Berlinale posters. 

"They are really mad about the posters, that the bear is around Berlin on different stages and different locations.” 

Posters of the expressionless bear, advertising the 66th edition of the Berlinale film festival in Berlin, Germany.
Credit JOHN MACDOUGALL / Staff / Getty Images

Deadpan images of a bear are seen roaming through the city at Potsdamer Platz or while exiting the U-Bahn. More than 1,000 Berlinale posters have already been sold, says Kosslick. 

Another success story regarding the more than 400 films of the Berlinale: 

One hundred alumni from the former Talent Campus are back in one part or another - as a director, as a producer, or as an actress - so the parents are happy."

Fostering relationships is one of Dieter Kosslick's talents. He describes an evening with Meryl Streep in 2012, when the American actress received the honorary Golden Bear. 

At the 62nd Berlinale Festival held in February 2012, actress Meryl Streep receives the Golden Honorary Bear award.
Credit Andreas Rentz / Staff / Getty Images

"This night was really, a very special, magic night - and she felt it. There was... for sure, there was some real thing in this not-real-world we are were in, in a film festival."

Kosslick managed to get Meryl Streep back to Berlin – this time as the festival’s Jury President. The Berlinale chief tells me, at first, he was hesitant to ask her: "But then I remembered the old Hollywood saying: 'You always can get a ‘No,’ but we got a ‘Yes.’"

The 66th Berlinale brings Hollywood glamor to the German capital, but it also continues its reputation: to connect cultures and to be political.

"We are all a little bit afraid in this kind of moment in history that dark voices are coming up; and you are wondering how many dark voices still exist, especially with our history; and we try to fight back with the film festival." 

Director of the Berlinale film festival Dieter Kosslick poses next to the poster for the 2016 Berlinale film festival.
Credit JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP / Getty Images

Kosslick says this year’s films not only portray, but investigate current topics, like the migrant crisis or Internet security and privacy.

"Who is guilty? Who has done this? What happened in these countries, and why is religion such a big part? This is [the] main subject of a lot of films we have, and also the reason [why] governments try to protect the countries on a digital level, like all the cyber affairs, the cyber wars, and things," comments Kosslick.

Dieter Kosslick, Director of Berlinale Festival, attends the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival Press Conference on February 2, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.
Credit Clemens Bilan / Stringer / Getty Images

In the competition, "Zero Days" by American director Alex Gibney takes on internet surveillance. Gianfranco Rosis' "Fire At Sea" documents life on the Mediterranean Island of Lampedusa, one of the main landing points for migrants to Europe. Iranian filmmaker Rafi Pitts tells the story of a Green Card soldier in "Soy Nero." 18 films will compete for the Golden Bear. 

"Overall, many of this year’s entries deal with the search for happiness,” says Kosslick at the Berlinale press conference. He also announced some of the stars we can expect to see. Among them: George Clooney, Kirsten Dunst, Spike Lee, Tilda Swinton, and Emma Thompson.  

The Berlinale opens with the Coen brothers' “Hail, Caesar!” on February 11th.