Ukraine’s Historic Oscar Win with “20 Days in Mariupol”

by Cheplyk Roman
Monday, March 11, 2024
Ukraine’s Historic Oscar Win with “20 Days in Mariupol”

The “Oscar-2024” ceremony marked a historic moment for Ukraine as Mstislav Chernov’s documentary “20 Days in Mariupol” clinched the country’s first-ever Oscar since gaining independence

This poignant film, documenting the initial days of Russian occupation in Mariupol, captured global recognition for its vivid portrayal of the invasion's harrowing impact.

In an emotionally charged acceptance speech, director Mstislav Chernov expressed a poignant wish: "I wish this movie didn't exist. I would like Russia to never attack Ukraine, never to occupy our cities." He dedicated the award to the resilience of the Ukrainian people and the memory of those who suffered in Mariupol, emphasizing the power of cinema in preserving history and the truth.

Joining Chernov on stage were photojournalist Yevhen Maloletka, producer Vasylisa Stepanenko, and film producers Michelle Mizner and Renee Aronson-Rath. The team experienced the shock and devastation of the Russian invasion firsthand, witnessing the destruction of both infrastructure and human lives.

"20 Days in Mariupol," a collaborative effort between the Associated Press and Frontline documentarians, is crafted from footage shot during the city's siege. Despite severe communication challenges, the team managed to send out a fraction of their footage and later safely exited the city through a humanitarian corridor. The film not only won at Sundance but also garnered acclaim and awards at multiple international festivals, highlighting the global resonance of Ukraine's struggle and resilience.

This Oscar victory not only celebrates Ukrainian cinema but also serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing conflict's human toll, ensuring the world remembers Mariupol's tragedy and the broader implications for Ukraine and international peace.

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