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“20 Days In Mariupol”: a leading contender at the Cinema Eye Awards

The film directed by the award-winning Mstyslav Chernov features accounts of Ukrainian journalists trapped in Mariupol in 2022.
“20 Days In Mariupol”: a leading contender at the Cinema Eye Awards

Turning to the Cinema Eye Awards, which recognize achievements in non-fiction and documentary films and TV series, this year’s nominees have been announced. “20 Days In Mariupol,” Ukraine’s Oscar-nominated entry, emerges as one of the leading contenders. Leading with six nominations at the 17th Cinema Eye Awards is “Kokomo City,” directed by D. Smith, while Mstyslav Chernov’s work in Mariupol receives five nominations, closely followed by films “32 Sounds” and “The Eternal Memory.”

About the documentary: Trapped within the besieged city of Mariupol, a team of Ukrainian journalists from the Associated Press faced the dual challenges of documenting the atrocities perpetrated by the Russian invasion force and ensuring their own survival. As the sole international reporters remaining in the city, they captured pivotal and haunting images that come to define the war: tragic scenes of dying children, mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital, and more.

Mstyslav Chernov, a war correspondent, photographer, and videographer, directs the film “20 Days in Mariupol,” marking a significant departure from his nearly decade-long career covering international conflicts, including the Russia-Ukraine war, for The Associated Press. Based on his daily news dispatches and personal footage captured within his homeland at war, the documentary provides a vivid and harrowing account of civilians ensnared in the siege. It also offers a compelling glimpse into the challenges of reporting from a war zone and the profound global impact of such journalism.

Produced by PBS Frontline in collaboration with The Associated Press, the acclaimed documentary stands as a testament to the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian journalists. Mstyslav Chernov, the recipient of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize, directs the film, which has garnered international recognition, including the Sundance Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary. Recently selected by Ukraine as its entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2024 Oscars, “20 Days in Mariupol” illuminates the power of journalism to convey the stark realities of war and the sacrifices made by those who risk their lives to share the truth with the world.

“20 Days In Mariupol” is nominated in multiple categories, including Best Documentary, Best Editing, Best Production, Best Debut, and the Audience Award. Mstyslav Chernov shared the news on his Facebook page in late October of the film’s inclusion in the long list for the Audience Award at the prestigious Cinema Eye Awards. “It’s like Eurovision. But it’s for documentaries,” Chernov wrote.

Having had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it clinched the Audience Award, and a Ukrainian premiere at the Docudays UA festival in June 2023, earning two awards, the film was selected by the Ukrainian Oscar Committee in September of the same year to represent Ukraine at the 96th Academy Awards.

Mstyslav Chernov, born in 1985 in Kharkiv, is a Ukrainian videographer, photographer, photojournalist, director, war correspondent, and writer. Throughout his career, he has extensively covered significant events such as the Revolution of Dignity, the War in Eastern Ukraine, the aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash, the Syrian Civil War, the Battle of Mosul in Iraq, and now the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. For his outstanding work, Chernov has received prestigious accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award, Gongadze Prize, and more.

Chernov is associated with the Associated Press as a journalist and serves as the president of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers. His materials have been published and broadcasted by numerous media outlets worldwide, including CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, and others. Despite facing multiple injuries in war zones during his work, Chernov remains dedicated to his journalistic pursuits. He is also a member of the Ukrainian PEN.

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