The European Film Academy will present Ken Loach with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to film and his body of work. He will receive the award at the 22nd European Film Awards on December 12.

The British director joins previous honourees Judi Dench last year, Sean Connery (2005) and the Monty Python comedy group (2001). Loach’s latest film Looking For Eric has also been selected for the long list of nominations for this year’s EFAs.

Loach began his career working in British TV, making his first feature film, Poor Cow, in 1967. He found fame with his working class drama Kes, which established him as a film-maker with a socio-political agenda. His drama Riff-Raff received the European Film of the Year in 1991, and The Wind That Shakes The Barleyearned him a Cannes Palme D’Or in 2006.

The director has stirred up controversy this year following his decision to boycott festivals that accept sponsorship money from Israel. Loach, a critic of Israeli policies in Gaza and Lebanon, threated to pull out of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) and did pull out of Melbourne Film Festival over disputes about financial aid.

Other UK films selected for this year’s European Film Awards include Andrea Arnold’s Cannes Jury prize winner Fish Tank, and Danny Boyle’s Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire.