The Final Film in the U.S. Documentary Competition Is Just Announced and You Won’t Want to Miss It

Eagle eye viewers of our program might have noticed that within the U.S. Documentary Competition section of our 2022 Film Festival lineup there were only nine films listed. There are supposed to be 10. Today we complete the program by revealing our tenth and final film in the section: Daniel Roher’s Navalny.

In a little over 24 hours from now (January 25 at 6 p.m. MT), we will be premiering Roher’s groundbreaking documentary thriller about Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist, Alexei Navalny. You will not want to miss this.

“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.”

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.”

Tickets for Navalny are available now. Click here to be part of this moment and read more about Navalny below.

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. The film is directed by Daniel Roher and produced by Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris and Odessa Rae.