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“20 Days in Mariupol” documentary about early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nominated for Oscar

“20 Days in Mariupol,” Mstyslav Chernov's harrowing documentary about the first days of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature Film category at the Academy Awards, joining four other films.

The nomination is a first for The Associated Press in the organization’s 178-year history.

“Bobi Wine: The People's President,” “Eternal Memory,” “Four Daughters,” and “Killing the Tiger” are also up for the award in the same category.

The documentary, a co-production by AP and PBS' “Frontline,” was filmed in early 2022, during the first three weeks of the war in Ukraine. Chernov, a Ukrainian journalist and filmmaker, along with photographer Evgeniy Maloletka and field producer Vasilisa Stepanenko, arrived in Mariupol just an hour before Russia commenced its bombardment of the port city.

In January 2023, the film won the Audience Award at the Sundance Independent Film Festival.

The Academy Awards will take place on March 10 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, marking the 96th time that the names of the Oscar winners will be announced.

In May 2023, the Associated Press team won the Pulitzer Prize in the “Public Service” category for their reporting from Mariupol. The prize was shared by three Ukrainians: documentary filmmaker Mstyslav Chernov, photographer Evgeniy Maloletka and field producer Vasilisa Stepanenko, and French journalist Lori Hinnant.

The AP staff were the last foreign media members to leave Mariupol, which had been subjected to massive shelling. Before escaping from the besieged city on March 15, 2022, Chernov and Maloletka managed to capture footage of the aftermath of Russia’s infamous strike on Mariupol’s Maternity Hospital No. 3, which occurred on March 9.

Iryna Kalinina (32), an injured pregnant woman, is carried from a maternity hospital that was damaged during a Russian airstrike in Mariupol, Ukraine. Her baby, named Miron (after the word for ‘peace’) was stillborn, and half an hour later Iryna died as well. An OSCE report concluded the hospital was deliberately targeted by Russia, resulting in three deaths and some 17 injuries.
Iryna Kalinina (32), an injured pregnant woman, is carried from a maternity hospital that was damaged during a Russian airstrike in Mariupol, Ukraine. Her baby, named Miron (after the word for ‘peace’) was stillborn, and half an hour later Iryna died as well. An OSCE report concluded the hospital was deliberately targeted by Russia, resulting in three deaths and some 17 injuries.
Source: Evgeniy Maloletka, AP Photo.

The Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography also went to a group of seven Associated Press correspondents — including Evgeniy Maloletka.

Maloletka's work in Mariupol won him a World Press Photo award in the Europe category in March last year.

“20 Days in Mariupol” is now available to watch for free in North America on YouTube, PBS, and other streaming services.

Cover photo: An explosion erupts from an apartment building on Mytropolytska Street, Mariupol, Ukraine, after fire from a Russian army tank. Source: Evgeniy Maloletka, AP Photo.

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