Navalny, directed by Canadian Daniel Roher, rounds out Sundance's U.S. Documentary Competition. Photo courtesy of Sundance.

Sundance Adds Navalny By Daniel Roher to Competition

Top-secret doc about Russian politician/activist rounds out U.S. Doc Comp

2 mins read

Daniel Roher’s Navalny has joined the U.S. Documentary Competition at Sundance. The festival revealed the top secret final selection today to round out the ten-film competition. Navalny will premiere at the online fest on January 25 at 6:00 pm Mountain Time. The top-secret doc offers unique access to Russian activist and opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The political figure has gained significant attention and amassed a sizable following on social media for his outspoken anti-corruption stance and his criticisms of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The 29-year-old Toronto-born Roher observes Navalny’s rise to prominence and his fight to preserve the integrity of his homeland. The stakes of Navalny’s opposition to Putin and corruption gained international prominence when an airplane on which he was travelling made an emergency landing and it was revealed that he was poisoned with a nerve agent. Roher previously profiled rock icon Robbie Robertson in Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, which was the opening night gala at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Navalny is and produced by Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris and Odessa Rae.

“We are delighted to have Navalny at this year’s Festival,” said Tabitha Jackson, the Festival’s Director, in a statement from Sundance. “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,” added Roher. “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.”

Tickets for Navalny’s Sundance premiere are now available. The film will premiere on CNN and HBO (Crave in Canada) in 2022.


Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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