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AP, Frontline documentary ‘20 Days in Mariupol’ wins Academy Award® for ‘Best Documentary Feature Film’


“20 Days in Mariupol,” the feature documentary from The Associated Press and PBS documentary series Frontline has won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature Film at Sunday’s 96th Academy Awards®.

This is AP’s first ever Academy Award.

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.

Accepting AP and Frontline’s first Oscar, Chernov said: “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. 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 amid Russia’s siege. Together, the journalists, who would go on to win the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, documented what would become defining 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, on the PBS App, on Frontline’s YouTube channel and on the PBS Documentaries Amazon Prime Channel.

The “20 Days in Mariupol” film team poses for a photo ahead of the Academy Awards, March 10, 2024, in Los Angeles. From left: Derl McCrudden, AP vice president and head of global news production; Raney Aronson-Rath, Frontline editor in chief; Mstyslav Chernov, AP video journalist; and Michelle Mizner, Frontline editor. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

The documentary is distributed domestically by PBS Distribution and internationally by Dogwoof. Frontline is produced at GBH in Boston.

“20 Days in Mariupol” is directed, written and produced by Chernov, and produced and edited by Frontline’s Michelle Mizner alongside producers Raney Aronson-Rath (Frontline’s editor-in-chief and executive producer) and Derl McCrudden (AP’s vice president and head of global news production). The documentary draws on Chernov’s daily news dispatches and personal footage of his own country at war. The result is a raw and haunting account of a journalist risking his life to share the truth of the conflict with the world.

“Tonight’s Oscar is a testament to the importance of eyewitness journalism and the bravery of the AP journalists on the ground in Mariupol, the world’s only window into the attack on the Ukrainian city and the plight of its people. We share this great honor with our partners at Frontline, without whom this film would not have been possible,” said AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Julie Pace. “Two years after the siege of the city, The Associated Press continues to cover the war in Ukraine with the same rigor and determination as you see in ‘20 Days in Mariupol.’” 

“As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, it’s clear that "20 Days in Mariupol” was just the first chapter of the tragedy and terror that continues today — and now more than ever, there is a need for this kind of boots-on-the-ground reporting to serve as a necessary and factual record of history. I hope that this Oscar continues to focus attention on the people of Ukraine and the importance of journalism,” said Frontline Editor-in-Chief Raney Aronson-Rath. “I want to thank The Associated Press’ Mstyslav Chernov, Evgeniy Maloletka and Vasilisa Stepanenko for their bravery and commitment to telling this story. I share this honor with director and producer Mstyslav, Michelle Mizner, Derl McCrudden, our partners at The Associated Press, as well as with PBS Distribution, GBH, PBS and CPB.”

“20 Days in Mariupol” made its world premiere in January 2023 at the Sundance Film Festival and was the recipient of the festival’s World Cinema Documentary Competition Audience Award. The film has received numerous accolades, including the BAFTA for best documentary, two Critics Choice Documentary Awards, a Cinema Eye Honors Award, a duPont-Columbia Award nomination, and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)’s NPO Audience Award.   

About AP:

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world’s population sees AP journalism every day. Online:


FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 106 Emmy Awards and 31 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support for FRONTLINE is provided by the Abrams Foundation, Park Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund, with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen. Funding for Democracy on Trial is provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.