20 Days in Mariupol, a documentary film by Ukrainian military officer Mstislav Chernov about the first weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, won the Audience Award at the Sundance American independent film festival.
Photographer Evgeny Maloletka and producer Vasilisa Stepanenko worked together with Chernov on the film. They arrived in Mariupol as journalists for the Associated Press on February 24, an hour before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The team recorded everything that happened in the city, including mass graves of civilians, a humanitarian catastrophe due to the siege of the city, and the actions of the Russian military. It was they who showed the world the consequences of the bombing of the Mariupol maternity hospital.
In mid-March, the journalists left Mariupol through the humanitarian corridor. The video materials taken out by Chernov from the city formed the basis of the documentary.
Chernov, Maloletka and Stepanenko have already received several international awards for their work, including the Press Freedom Awards 2022 and the Gongadze Prize.
In total, 12 films were presented in the world documentary section at the Sundance Film Festival, including the film Iron Butterflies by Ukrainian director Roman Lyuby about the crash of a passenger Boeing in the Donbass in 2014. The main prize of the festival went to the film “Eternal Memory” by Chilean Maite Alberdi, which tells about a couple suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
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