Seleckis wins lifetime achievement award in Tallinn

The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival has announced the recipient of its second Lifetime Achievement Award: Latvian film director Ivars Seleckis.

Born in 1934 in Riga, Latvia, Ivars Seleckis is the oldest Latvian documentary filmmaker still active. Educated as a food technologist, Seleckis began work at the Riga Film Studio in 1958 as a camera assistant and according to Kristīne Matīsa from the National Film Center of Latvia, the first scenes Seleckis shot which appeared on film were in 1960 – in the documentary, My Riga – a film that became the first timid step away from the official propaganda and towards more humanly intimate poetics.

In 1966 he went to study cinematography at the Moscow Film Institute and debuted in 1970 with Girls from Valmiera (1970), which brought a modern edge to documentary film as it was unusual for that time for a Latvian documentary to pose daring and unflattering questions on social topics. The context being a small town factory with 2000 female workers, that posed big problems for the local demographic balance.

Seleckis went on to direct a large number of films and became a vital part of the Latvian film history. His biggest international success is The Crossroad Street (1988), the first of three Crossroad-films that received three of the most prestigious documentary awards in the Europe – EFA award for the Best Documentary, Joris Ivens and Robert Flaherty awards. Seleckis continues to make films even at the age of 84.

He has received the Honorary Award of merit and exceptional lifetime contributions to cinema at the Lielais Kristaps National Film Festival of Latvia in 2014.

Seleckis was awarded at the November 28 screening of his latest documentary To Be Continued, which is part of the festival’s Baltic Competition program. The film is Latvia's candidate for the best foreign language film Academy Award.

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