The Ukrainian film nominated for an Oscar collects film awards: what you need to know about the documentary '20 days in Mariupol' - ForumDaily
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Oscar-nominated Ukrainian film collects film awards: what you need to know about the documentary '20 days in Mariupol'

The film by Ukrainian director Mstislav Chernov “20 days in Mariupol” was awarded by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). He received an Oscar nomination. The film about the first days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 is collecting awards around the world ahead of the ceremony in the United States, reports Radio Liberty.

Photo: iStock.com/Tatsiana Hancharova

On February 18, the film “20 days in Mariupol” was awarded the BAFTA award in the “Best Documentary Film” category.

“The history of Mariupol has become a symbol of everything that happened, a symbol of struggle, a symbol of faith. Thank you for amplifying our voice and let’s continue the fight,” Chernov said at the awards ceremony in London.

“20 Days in Mariupol” was filmed by a team of Associated Press journalists consisting of director Mstislav Chernov, photographer Evgeniy Maloletka and producer Vasilisa Stepanenko. War correspondents were the only representatives of the international media documenting the fighting in Mariupol. All three received the Pulitzer Prize for their work in the city during its siege.

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The group fought the siege of Mariupol for 20 days and was forced to leave when Russian troops moved too close to the city and captured part of it. Journalists feared that the footage, if discovered, would most likely be destroyed by Russian military personnel.

Maloletka and Chernov consider this footage evidence of “what the Russian invasion of Ukraine is: that this is not a special operation, not some targeted strikes on infrastructure or the military - this is the destruction of people, the destruction of cities.”

“20 Days in Mariupol” has already been awarded the Pulitzer Prize. In January, the film won the Audience Award at the Sundance American Independent Film Festival. On February 11, the film received the Directors Guild of America Award. The director of the film, Mstislav Chernov, was awarded as the best documentary director.

Oscar nomination

On January 23, Chernov’s film “20 Days in Mariupol” was nominated for an Oscar in the “Best Documentary Film” category.

He will compete in this nomination with the films “Bobi Wine: The People's President”, “To Kill a Tiger”, “The Eternal Memory” and “Four Daughters” Daughters). The results will be known on March 10.

“I would give all the awards and nominations so that this tragedy would never happen, so that Russia would not invade Ukraine. But it happened. And this film exists not just as proof of what happened with Mariupol, but also as a symbol of what the Russian Federation has done and continues to do with other cities of Ukraine by dropping guided bombs on them, firing missiles at them. An Oscar nomination is an opportunity to remind the world of this,” Chernov noted about the nomination.

What is this movie about?

Photographer, videographer, writer Mstislav Chernov and photojournalist Evgeny Maloletka arrived in the Ukrainian Mariupol on the night of February 24, 2022, an hour before the start of a full-scale war that Russia unleashed against Ukraine. For twenty days they were almost the only journalists filming Mariupol under constant shelling and attempted assault by the Russian military.

Maloletka and Chernov took photographs and videotaped:

  • the work of doctors in a de-energized hospital in Mariupol, where operations were performed daily under the light of lanterns;
  • consequences of the Russian attack on a maternity hospital in Mariupol: the Kremlin and Russian propaganda media tried to present these photos and videos as “fake”;
  • funeral of dead city residents in mass graves.

Journalists left the city on March 15, 2022. The director of the film remembers this last day most of all.

“We already knew that we were leaving, we were waiting for the Red Cross convoy to try to leave. And we were in the hospital - it was the last working hospital in Mariupol. And one of the doctors took us to the basement,” recalls Chernov. - We go down to the basement, and... he shows us, and there are dozens of dead people, murdered people. And the doctor says: 'These are all the people we couldn't save.' And then he comes up to some small package, begins to unwrap it, and... and at first we don’t understand what’s there. And then we realize that there is a small child there. This baby is 23 days old. And this was the last thing I shot in Mariupol. Then we were already leaving, and this shot was in my head. And I thought it was terrible. But how much more was there that we haven’t been able to film yet and won’t be able to show?”

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In an interview, Chernov was asked if he cried in Mariupol.

“Yes, I cried. Was. When children die. You take pictures and cry. Then the children are buried. A mass grave, and you know that in these bags that are thrown into this mass grave are the children you filmed. That is, this girl, this boy - they are in those bags. And they are simply thrown there. And you cry. And you film,” he replied.

“In fact, '20 days in Mariupol' is a film about hope. That in the worst moments of our lives, at the moment of loss, pain, we are not left alone. There is always someone next to us: a neighbor, a doctor, a volunteer, a firefighter, a journalist... It gives a sense of community, a sense of unity. The strength of Ukrainian unity amazes the international audience,” the director concluded.

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