Sergei Rakhlin, a Russian-born journalist and a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association since 1996, has died. He was 78.
Rakhlin died Friday after a year-long battle with an illness, the HFPA shared in an obituary on Sunday.
“Sergei was a strong advocate for international filmmakers and long pressed for their recognition and inclusion in Hollywood. His passion for films from across the globe was only surpassed by his support of the HFPA,” HFPA president Helen Hoehne said in a statement to TheWrap.
Rakhlin joined the HFPA in 1996 and had bylines that appeared in Vogue, Variety, Action! and Film Search throughout his career, as well as other publications throughout Russia, Latvia, Ukraine and Central Asia. He also spent time as a screenwriter and wrote two scripts that were later turned into feature films, including “Brutus” in 2016 and “Witnesses” in 2018.
He served six terms as the executive secretary and one term as treasurer for the HFPA and contributed to the production of the Golden Globes between 2008 and 2017. Rakhlin was a long-time member of the Foreign Film Committee (now Non-English Language Film Committee), and he was also nominated for an Emmy in 2018 for producing the Globes awards ceremony.
Rakhlin, who also went by the more Americanized “Serge,” was born in Gorky, Russia, in 1943 and settled in Riga, Latvia, when he was 7. He received a degree in journalism from the Latvian State University and worked as a writer and screenwriter before immigrating to the United States in 1978. He then earned an MA from the University of Southern California and worked as a general producer, artistic director and talk-show host at WMNB TV and Radio Station (New York, Los Angeles, Toronto). Some of his other positions included editor-in-chief of Panorama newspaper in Los Angeles and Hollywood analyst for The Voice of America radio station.
Rakhlin was passionate about international cinema and served as a juror on festivals such as the Kiev International Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights and others around the world.
He is survived by his wife Emilia, son Nick and daughter-in-law Marina.