FRONTLINE and AP Documentary 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL Wins Academy Award® for 'Best Documentary Feature Film'

March 10, 2024

Boston, MA – March 10, 2024   – 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL, the documentary produced by the PBS series FRONTLINE at GBH in Boston and The Associated Press, has won the Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards®.

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. The documentary is Chernov’s first feature film, after he spent nearly a decade covering international conflicts, including the Russia-Ukraine war, for The Associated Press.

“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,” said Chernov. He went on to remind the public that “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 as Russian forces close in. Together, the journalists, who would go on to win a 2023 Pulitzer Prize, document what become some of the most indelible 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, in the PBS App, on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel and on the PBS Documentaries Amazon Prime Channel. 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 of news). 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.

“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 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.”

“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.”

Over the past 40 years, FRONTLINE films have made a difference, shining a light into dark corners around the world,” said GBH CEO Susan Goldberg. “Impact matters. And this recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences means greater visibility for this film, keeping the attention on the people of Ukraine. Congratulations to Raney Aronson-Rath, Michelle Mizner, Mstyslav Chernov, Evgeniy Maloletka, Vasilisa Stepanenko and everyone involved in producing this incredible film.”

“We are so proud that 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL has been honored with an Academy Award,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “FRONTLINE’s first-ever Oscar is a testament to the power of collaborative journalism and to the vision and tenacity of Raney Aronson-Rath, Mstyslav Chernov, Michelle Mizner, Evgeniy Maloletka, Vasilisa Stepanenko, and all of the partners who made this film possible. We hope this recognition will encourage even more people to watch this important film.”

“Congratulations to Mstyslav Chernov, Michelle Mizner, Raney Aronson-Rath and the entire filmmaking team on this incredible achievement,” says Andrea Downing, President PBS Distribution. “PBS Distribution has been honored to support 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and it will remain our privilege to make this vital film available to audiences.”

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is proud to be a longtime funder of FRONTLINE’s fact-based, illuminating documentary filmmaking,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “The federal appropriation to CPB enables public media to bring this powerful, critically acclaimed film to the American people for free and commercial-free. 20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL is an example of minute-by-minute courageous reporting covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the brutal attack on the people of Mariupol, the beginning of the war that continues today. Congratulations to FRONTLINE’s Raney Aronson-Rath and Michelle Mizner, AP’s Mstyslav Chernov and all who worked on this remarkable documentary.”

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, the DGA Award for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in 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.

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.

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:

Categories: Award, Journalism