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Documentary ’20 Days in Mariupol’ highlights the horrors of war

Associated Press video journalist Mstislav Chernov had just escaped from Mariupol. Cover first 20 days After learning of the Russian invasion of a Ukrainian city, he felt guilty about leaving. He and his colleagues, photographer Evgeny Malloretka and producer Vasilisa Stepanenko, sent an important detachment from the city under full attack and were the last journalists on the ground.

the next day, A theater where hundreds of people had taken shelter indoors was bombed And he knew there was no one to document it. That’s when Chernov decided he wanted to do something bigger. He shot about 30 hours of footage during his stay in Mariupol. However, it was very difficult to export anything as the internet connection was poor and sometimes impossible. All in all, he estimates that only about 40 minutes of it was available to the world.

“That shoot was so important. They got on the Associated Press and then told thousands of news outlets.” chernov said at the beginning of this year. “But I had more than that. We need to show people how big the scale is.”

The larger story is the documentary 20 Days in Mariupol, a joint project between the Associated Press and PBS Frontline, which premiered earlier this year. sundance film festival Won in Park City, Utah World Film Documentary Audience Award. their report is Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and Breaking News Photography. And now the film has reached the next stage. It hits a handful of theaters nationwide in July.starting this Friday in New York and Chicago.

Chernoff knew there were many ways to tell this story. But he decided early on to keep it contained during the harrowing first 20 days that he and his colleagues were on the ground to evoke the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped. . He also did the narration himself and chose to tell like a journalist.

“It’s just a lens through which we see the stories of the deaths of Mariupol residents, their suffering, the destruction of their homes,” he said. “At the same time, I felt that I could do it too. I am part of the community, so I am allowed to do it. I was born in the city right next door to , so this is also our story.

As an AP employee, Chernov was very conscious of maintaining neutrality and an open mind.

“It’s okay to let the audience know how you feel,” he said. “It’s important not to let your emotions dictate what you show or don’t show. I tried to be fair while I was narrating.”

He encounters quite a few different reactions to himself and his colleagues being on the ground. Some thanked him for the work he did. Some called them prostitutes. Some doctors have recommended that graphic footage of injured and dead children be filmed to show the world what has been done.

After Chernov left Mariupol and was finally able to catch up with news reports around the world, he was appalled by the impact the footage had. They tracked people they met during their stay, those who left and those who didn’t, and asked if they had an impact on their lives.

Others said the footage helped relatives find or get help. Doctors and officials said it was easier to safely cross the green corridor.

“We don’t know how much of it is our footage and how much of it is actual events,” Chernov said. “But I really want to believe that we have made a difference, because I think the essence of journalism is to give people information so that they can make certain decisions.”

Another mission for him was to provide historical evidence of potential war crimes. Chernov is acutely aware that war is not even history. The painful reality continues.

At Sundance, audiences were able to see the film, edited by Frontline’s Michelle Mizner, twice. The film received a standing ovation at its premiere. And at a later screening he met some of the audience and told them that they were from Mariupol and that their relatives had fled the besieged city at the same time as him. Counselors were on hand in the theater in case anyone needed assistance.

“I expected them to have an emotional response, and they did. But at the same time, it’s hard to see people crying,” he said. “Leaving the audience in this chaos, this chaos, and this violence for 90 minutes risks people becoming too overwhelmed or pushed back by this violence.

“I just want to show you what it was like,” he added. “That was the main challenge of making choices when assembling the film. How do you show gravity but not push the audience away? The audience reaction is very good, people cry, they’re depressed, they express different emotions, from anger to sadness, and that’s what I intended as a filmmaker, but at the same time, it’s I also understand that it probably won’t be easy for everyone.”

___

This story was first published on January 23, 2023. Updated to include the film’s awards and theatrical release plans.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2023/07/12/in-20-days-in-mariupol-documentary-the-horrors-of-war-illuminated/ Documentary ’20 Days in Mariupol’ highlights the horrors of war

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