William tells Navalny producers he wants to ‘see how we can help’
The Prince of Wales said he wants to “see how we can help” as he spoke to the makers of a documentary about the plight of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.
William told producers Odessa Rae and Shane Boris their work was “seriously impressive” as he chatted to them after the film won the Bafta documentary award at the 2023 ceremony.
He then asked: “What can we do to help?”
Rae encouraged him to “spread the word” and began to detail elements of the ordeal faced by Russian opposition leader Mr Navalny, who remains imprisoned 250 kilometres east of Moscow.
William reiterated that he wanted to “see how we can help” before finishing the conversation by congratulating the filmmakers on their win, telling them it was “very well deserved”.
The documentary Nalvany, which revolves around the Russian opposition leader and the events surrounding his 2020 poisoning, has been described as the story of his struggle against an authoritarian regime.
Navalny has blamed the Kremlin for the Novichock nerve agent attack, which left him in a serious condition in hospital.
Russian authorities deny involvement.
The producers dedicated their win to investigative journalist Christo Grozev and hit out at Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Bulgarian Mr Grozev, who features in the documentary, claimed before the ceremony that he and his family were not allowed at the event due to being a “security risk”.
At the ceremony, Rae said: “We want to dedicate this award to Christo Grozev, our Bulgarian nerd with a laptop, who could not be with us tonight because his life is under threat by the Russian government and (president) Vladimir Putin.
Mr Grozev, the lead Russia investigator with Bellingcat – an investigative journalism group specialising in fact-checking and use of open source intelligence and social media investigation techniques – had tweeted on Friday that he was “surprised” to be “banned” and told that he represented “a public security risk”.
He added that this shows “growing dangers to independent journalists around the world”, not just from “murderous dictators but also from having journalists’ voices hushed”.
The Metropolitan Police said police forces generally “do not and cannot” ban individuals from events and this was the responsibility of organisers.
The force added that it could not comment on the safety of an individual or advice given to them, but that it was “absolutely concerned” with the “hostile intentions of foreign states” on UK soil.
William, who is president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta), was joined by the Princess of Wales as they also met representatives of the academy and spoke about their work at Sunday’s event.
Kate wore a white Alexander McQueen dress, which she has been seen in before, with black opera gloves and £17.99 gold earrings from Zara.
The couple also met award winners Cate Blanchett, Austin Butler, Emma Mackey and David Bradley, with whom William shares a love of Aston Villa FC.
The prince asked Bradley if he had seen the club’s latest game, and the actor told William he had a season ticket.
As he chatted with stars, William also said his children had seen the film Matilda but found it a “little bit scary”.
During the ceremony, a pre-recorded tribute was also paid to the late Queen for her patronage of the arts by Dame Helen Mirren, who played the monarch in the 2006 biopic The Queen.
William and Kate watched from the front row as Dame Helen said: “Cinema at its best does what Her Majesty did effortlessly – bring us together and unite us through a story.
“Your Majesty, you were our nation’s leading star.”