Mstyslav Chernov - Standing Ground

Spotlight Explore the perils and possibilities of frontline filmmaking with the director of 20 Days in Mariupol, Mstyslav Chernov, whose on-the-ground footage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine became his Oscar®-nominated debut feature.

Mstyslav Chernov is the 2023 Pulitzer Prize winner for Public Service for his reporting from the besieged city of Mariupol. Chernov is a Ukrainian photojournalist, filmmaker, and war correspondent, whose video materials became the basis for the Sundance Audience Award-winning and Oscar®-shortlisted documentary 20 Days in Mariupol.

As others understandably fled for their safety, Chernov remained behind, one of the last journalists chronicling a city being reduced to rubble in real time. Mstyslav’s unforgettable news footage from the Russian siege on Mariupol featured in news pieces around the globe. Recognising a much larger story behind the headlines, Mstyslav embarked on a documentary that would bear witness to what unfolded on the ground during those 20 days and reveal the deeply personal stories that otherwise would not have been told.

Since its release, the documentary has screened at festivals around the world, won the Cinema For Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year award, and been nominated for Critics Choice Documentary and Gotham Awards. In this exclusive spotlight session, Chernov will offer a window into the perils and possibility of frontline filmmaking, the difference between news and documentary storytelling, reporting from a conflict zone, and the impact of taking stories from the frontlines to viewers across the globe.

This session will be preceded by a Welcome to Country.


Mstyslav Chernov’s 20 Days in Mariupol screens 6.30pm, Monday 4 March at ACMI Cinemas, as part of AIDC’s Documented Screening Program, co-presented with ACMI. Book your tickets here.

Image Credit: 20 Days in Mariupol (Madman Entertainment, 2023)



  • Date & Time

    9:00 – 10:30, Monday 4 March 2024

  • Venue

    ACMI Cinema 1

  • Speaker

    Mstyslav Chernov

  • Moderator

    Keisha Knight

  • Session Producer

    Alice McShane