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Oscar shortlist includes Ukrainian film '20 Days in Mariupol'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 21, 2023 10:56 PM 2 min read
A shot from the Ukrainian documentary “20 Days in Mariupol" nominated for the Academy Award. ("20 Days in Mariupol")
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The Ukrainian documentary "20 Days in Mariupol" has been shortlisted for the 96th Academy Awards, the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Dec. 21.

The film was directed by Ukrainian photographer, photojournalist, and filmmaker Mstyslav Chernov, who was working for the Associated Press as Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The documentary records the Russian siege of Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast from the perspective of Chernov and his crew during the first weeks of the full-scale invasion. The film comprises 30 hours of footage they shot in Mariupol amid the siege.

Mariupol remained under Russian siege until May 2022, leaving thousands dead and reducing the city to rubble.

"20 Days in Mariupol" was one of 15 films selected in the shortlist of the Documentary Feature Film category, for which 167 films were eligible.

The film was also one of 15 films that advanced to the next round of voting in the category of International Feature Film. Films from 88 countries and regions were eligible in the category.  

Since its release in January 2023, "20 Days in Mariupol" has won audience prizes at the Sundance Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Festival, and DocuDaysUA.

Ukrainian filmmakers center resilience, horrors of war at Sundance Film Festival
The first Russian bomb hit the outskirts of Mariupol an hour after video journalist Mstyslav Chernov arrived to the city on Feb. 24, the first day of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. For 20 days that followed, Chernov’s team captured Russian blows strangling the city block by block.
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