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FRONTLINE and AP Documentary 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL Wins Academy Award® for “Best Documentary Feature Film”

20 Days in Mariupol - Academy Award Winner for Documentary Feature Film. A scene of a press photographer walking through destroyed land while wearing a bulletproof vest.
Mstyslav Chernov
AP Photo

20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL, the documentary produced by the PBS series FRONTLINE at GBH in Boston and The Associated Press, has won the Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards®.

A powerful, first-person view of the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL is told through the perspective of Ukrainian filmmaker and AP video journalist Mstyslav Chernov. The documentary is Chernov’s first feature film, after he spent nearly a decade covering international conflicts, including the Russia-Ukraine war, for The Associated Press.

“This is the first Oscar in Ukrainian history, and I’m honored but probably I will be the first director on this stage to say I wish I never made this film,” said Chernov. He went on to remind the public that “we can make sure that the history record is set straight, that the truth prevails, and that the people of Mariupol and those who’ve given their lives will never be forgotten — because cinema forms memory and memory forms history.”

Described as “essential” and “a relentless and truly important documentary” by The New York Times and “a brave, visceral, merciless masterpiece” by The Guardian, the film follows Chernov and his AP colleagues Evgeniy Maloletka and Vasilisa Stepanenko as they become the last international journalists reporting from Mariupol as Russian forces close in. Together, the journalists, who would go on to win a 2023 Pulitzer Prize, document what become some of the most indelible images of the war: dying children, mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital, and more.

Following a decorated run on the film festival circuit, 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL had its U.S. broadcast premiere on PBS stations in November 2023 and is now available to stream online at WKAR Video here: video.wkar.org/20-days-in-mariupol.

The film can also be streamed at pbs.org/frontline, in the PBS App, on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel, and on the PBS Documentaries Amazon Prime Channel. The documentary is distributed domestically by PBS.

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