Sergei Rakhlin, a Russian-born journalist and member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association since 1996, has died. He was 78 years old.
Rakhlin died Friday after a year-long battle with illness, the HFPA shared in an obituary on Sunday.
“Sergei was a strong advocate for international filmmakers and a long-time advocate for their recognition and inclusion in Hollywood. His passion for films from around the world was only surpassed by his support for the HFPA,” said the president of the HFPA, Helen Hoehne, 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 across Russia, Latvia, Ukraine and Central Asia. He also spent time as a screenwriter and wrote two screenplays that were later turned into feature films, including 2016’s “Brutus” and 2018’s “Witnesses.”
He served six terms as Executive Secretary and one term as Treasurer of the HFPA and helped produce the Golden Globes between 2008 and 2017. Rakhlin was a longtime member of the Foreign Film Committee (now No -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 moved to Riga, Latvia when he was 7 years old. He graduated in journalism from the Latvian State University and worked as a writer. and screenwriter before immigrating to the United States in 1978. He later earned a master’s degree from the University of Southern California and worked as a general producer, art director, and talk show host at the television and radio station WMNB (New York, Los Angeles, Toronto). Some of his other positions included editor of the Panorama newspaper in Los Angeles and Hollywood analyst for The Voice of America radio station.
Rakhlin was passionate about international cinema and was a juror at festivals such as Kyiv International Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights and others around the world.
He is survived by his wife Emilia, his son Nick and his daughter-in-law Marina.