After months of rumours, Dieter Kosslick was today confirmed as the new artistic head of the Berlin Film Festival.

Kosslick will take over after next February's festival and organise his first in 2002. He succeeds Moritz De Hadeln, who after 20 years as festival head, was dropped suddenly in April (Screendaily April 27).

Although the manner of De Hadeln's dismissal has caused reactions among film-makers and within the festival staff, Kosslick's popularity is expected to smooth some of the ruffled feathers.

The De Hadeln succession appears to be part of a wide-ranging process of rejuvenation of Germany's cultural institutions sparked by the country's first ever federal minister of culture Michael Naumann. The decision to appoint Kosslick was taken last week by the Festival Kuratorium which also confirmed Joachim Sartorius as its new general secretary, replacing Ulrich Eckhardts, who had been in the job for 27 years. Sartorius, who is currently general secretary of the Goethe Institut, takes up his new post in January 2001.

The 52-year old Kosslick is currently head of the film finance body Filmstiftung NRW and vice president of the European Film Academy. He has also sat on the boards of Denmark's European Film College and German public broadcaster ZDF.

Karsten Kastelan IN BERLIN contributed to this report