Russian documentaries on opposition and climate change shortlisted for Oscars

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

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

Roher’s film, which premiered in January this year, has already won the Audience Award for Documentary and Festival Favorite awards at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and is considered among the favorites in the Oscars category in which he is preselected.

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 category.

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

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

The directors of the documentary, siblings Maxim Arbugaev and Evgenia Arbugaeva, hail from the Russian republic of Sakha (Yakutia), a region that has become known worldwide for its film scene in recent years.

“Haulout,” which was published online by The New Yorker magazine in November, is the directorial debut of well-known documentary photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva.

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

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