Wife of Alexei Navalny Wins Oscar for Jailed Husband After Documentary About Him: “I’m Dreaming of the Day You’ll Be Free”

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Updated with a statement from CNN Films from the original story at 6:31 p.m. ET: Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny received a loving message from his wife from the Oscars stage after winning the award for best documentary feature on Sunday.

“Thanks to everyone here,” said Yulia Navalnaya when director Daniel Rohr called her to the microphone after making his acceptance remarks. “My husband is in jail just for speaking the truth. My husband is in jail just for protecting democracy. Alexey, I’m dreaming of the day when you will be free and our country will be free. stay strong.”

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rohr’s documentary Navalny, from CNN Films, describes the toxic plot that nearly ended Alexey Navalny’s life. He was flying from Siberia to Moscow in August 2020 when he became deathly ill. The Russian doctors who initially treated him claimed that he was suffering from a metabolic disorder. But while Yulia successfully campaigned to have her husband transferred to Europe for further treatment, doctors in Germany concluded that he had been poisoned with the deadly nerve agent Novichok.

Christo Grosev, a journalist from the investigative collective Bellingcat, is one of the main characters in Navalny, helped expose the Kremlin apparatchiks behind the plot. In a notable scene in the film, Navalny himself spoke on the phone with an alleged conspirator, and – posing as a government official – asked the man to reveal misleading details of the assassination attempt. Rohr saluted both Grosev and Navalny’s colleague Maria Pevichik, who joined him on the Oscars stage.

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“Thank you to the Academy. We are humbled to be with such an extraordinary crop of documentary filmmakers. These films redefined what is to make a documentary,” said Roher. “We owe so much to our Bulgarian nerd with the laptop, Christo Grosev. You risked everything to tell this story and it is investigative journalists like you and Maria Pevchik who empower our work.

Rohr saved his most passionate remarks for Navalny himself. As shown in the film, the former lawyer recovered in Germany, then returned to Moscow in January 2021, where he was promptly arrested. He was convicted of allegedly violating parole on an earlier conviction and was later sentenced to an additional nine years in prison on charges of alleged fraud and contempt.

“There’s one person who couldn’t be with us tonight. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who remains in solitary confinement for what he says – I want to make sure we get his words exactly – ‘Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine’ in an unjust war of aggression,'” Rohr said, referring to the quote he had written in a notebook placed in front of him. “I want to dedicate this award to Navalny, to all political prisoners around the world. Alexey, the world hasn’t forgotten your important message for all of us. We can’t, we shouldn’t be afraid to oppose dictators and authoritarianism, wherever raises its head.”

The Oscar win was shared by Rohr and producers Odessa Rae, Diane Baker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris (Boris was also nominated for producing fellow Best Documentary Feature nominee). fire of love,

Connected: ‘Navalny’ shows the price an activist has to pay for opposing Vladimir Putin – Claimants Documentary

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The win came for the CNN Films division, which underwent major changes last year. After a decade of acquiring and producing films by outside talent, the network under president Chris Licht announced that would no longer follow that template, but would instead produce all future documentary content in-house.

CNN released a statement minutes after the win, saying the network “celebrated its first Oscar win in nearly 43-year history.” Amy Entelis, EVP, talent and content development for CNN Worldwide commented,Navalny, first and foremost, is about the passion, drive and inspiring heroism of Alexey Navalny, who is languishing in a penal colony even as he celebrates this award. An extraordinary group of people were dedicated to bringing Alexi’s story to the world, from our tireless film team led by visionary director Daniel Rohr to our partners at Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Max, and of course Bellingcat and CNN’s Clarissa I am our friend the lad.”
“Behind each project in CNN Films’ 10-year history has been an incredible group of people, who I know are beaming with pride today,” Entelis said in the statement. It’s a monumental win for an Academy Award and a testament to the lasting impact of CNN Films for CNN’s global storytelling.

CNN Films previously earned an Oscar nomination in 2019 rbgDocumentary about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

Academy Award winner Riz Ahmed and filmmaker-composer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presented the category. Questlove won the Best Feature Documentary category last year summer of soulA victory was overshadowed by an incident just before he was announced as the winner: Chris Rock was introducing the category when he was attacked on stage by Will Smith (Rock had assaulted Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith). was jokingly insulted).

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Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel hinted at while introducing Ahmed and Questlove to reveal this year’s best documentary feature. Kimmel reminded the audience, “You might remember that little skirmish we had last year.” “Let’s hope this year it goes off without a hitch or at least without a hitch Hitch, Please put your hands together — and then keep them to yourself — for Oscar winners Riz Ahmed and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson.

is below Navalny Team Backstage.

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