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Documentaries on Russian Opposition, Climate Change Shortlisted for Oscars


Two documentaries about prominent Russian opposition figures and a film on life in the Russian Arctic are among the titles shortlisted for the 95th Oscars released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday. 

Daniel Roher’s “Navalny,” which explores the events following the Kremlin critic's nerve-agent poisoning in August 2020, was shortlisted in the Documentary Feature Film category. 

Roher’s film, which premiered in January this year, previously won the Documentary Audience prize and Festival Favorite awards at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and is considered among the frontrunners for the Academy Awards category in which it is shortlisted. 

A short documentary about Anastasia Shevchenko, the first activist to be prosecuted under Russia’s 2015 law against “undesirable organizations,” is among the 15 works listed in the Documentary Short Film category. 

Directed by Australian Sarah McCarthy, “Anastasia” tells the story of Shevchenko’s house arrest that coincided with the passing of her eldest daughter Alina. 

Competing with “Anastasia” is “Haulout,” a short documentary film that explores the life of scientist Maxim Chakilev, who observes walrus migration on Russia’s Arctic shores as they are impacted by climate change. 

The documentary's directors, siblings Maxim Arbugaev and Evgenia Arbugaeva, hail from Russia’s Far East republic of Sakha (Yakutia), a region that has become known worldwide for its filmmaking scene in recent years. 

“Haulout,” which was released online by The New Yorker magazine in November, is the debut film for Evgenia Arbugaeva, a well-known documentary photographer. 

The final Oscars nominations will be named on Jan. 24, 2023, and the winners will be announced at the annual ceremony in Los Angeles in March. 

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