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Navalny directed by Daniel Roher
Navalny directed by Daniel Roher

Navalny, Daniel Roher’s revealing documentary thriller about Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist, Alexei Navalny has been added to the lineup of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The film is now the tenth and final film in the U.S. Documentary Competition section and will World Premiere on January 25, 2022.

Festival Director Tabitha Jackson recently expressed her delight at being able to premiere this important work: “When we saw this film in the early fall, we all immediately knew that we wanted it and would wait for it: riveting cinema in the present tense, incredible access, intrepid investigative journalism, a compelling protagonist speaking truth to power — all beautifully edited, directed and produced into a timely non-fiction thriller that deals with the highest of stakes for freedom of expression.”

“Boldly confronting injustice through cinematic storytelling has been threaded into Sundance’s DNA since its inception,” Roher said in a statement about the surprise premiere. “My team and I can’t imagine premiering at any other festival. We are thrilled that Sundance audiences will be the first to see our film and witness the extraordinary courage of Alexei Navalny.”

In August 2020, a plane traveling from Siberia to Moscow made an emergency landing. One of its passengers, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was deathly ill. After he was taken to a local Siberian hospital and eventually evacuated to Berlin, German authorities confirmed that he had been poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent implicated in attacks on other opponents of the Russian government. President Vladimir Putin immediately cast doubt on the findings and denied any involvement.

While he was recovering, Navalny and his team — already with a large social media following in tow — partnered with the data investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat as well as other international news organizations, including CNN, to investigate his attempted assassination and find proof of the Kremlin’s involvement. In Navalny, filmmaker Daniel Roher reveals a courageous and controversial would-be president at the precipice of sacrificing himself in order to bring reform to his homeland.

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