Podcast: Groveland Native Says Her Oscar-Winning ‘Navalny’ Aims to Bring Justice

Navalny promotion.

A Groveland native, who picked up an Oscar Sunday for the documentary “Navalny,” said her larger goal is to help secure justice for the Russian dissident who survived state-sponsored poisoning and now is jailed in solitary confinement.

Geralyn White Dreyfous, who went to Pentucket Regional High School before attending Harvard, was part of the team that won an Academy Award for the film Navalny. Appearing Wednesday on WHAV’s morning show, “Win for Breakfast,” she says the film tells the story of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist exposing corruption on the local and national levels in Russia.

“For that he was poisoned with a chemical toxin called Novichok and went into heart arrest on a plane leaving from Siberia, a small village. He was then medivacked from Russia to Germany where he rehabilitated and they were able to investigate the toxin and where it came from and the movie really exposes what’s called ‘state sponsored assassination’ of which there have been many under Putin’s reign,” she explains.

Dreyfous says Navalny went back to Russia after he recovered only to be arrested and placed in solitary confinement in a prison outside of Moscow. Dreyfous is looking at the Navalny documentary as a way to help.

“Well that’s our hope. The film has not been seen in Russia. All media has been shut down in the country right now. The only media the Russian people are allowed to consume is state-sponsored Russian television and there’s a very small percentage of people in the country that actually have internet and the capacity to connect to the outside world, Those that do are only allowed to get that news through YouTube so the Navalny Foundation, that now works in exile in Lithuania and reports nightly on the news. But, there’s a small percentage of people that listen to it, and there is a very compelling disinformation campaign that tries to discredit Mr. Navalny and his Foundation’s work,” she adds.

At the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, she helped teach Documentary and Narrative writing. Dreyfous is the chair and co-founder of the Utah Film Center which provides funding to filmmakers. In 2007, she co-founded Impact Partners which produces documentary films focusing on social issues.

“The film is called Navalny…It’s available on HBO Max and you can help by going onto the website of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and see the investigation they continue to do about corruption in Russia.”

There’s more on the Anti-Corruption Foundation at acf.international.

Incidentally, Dreyfous reports, the Oscar is heavier than one might think, weighing nearly 12 pounds.

Besides WHAV.net, WHAV’s “Merrimack Valley Newsmakers” podcasts are available via Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Alexa.

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