A group of Ukrainian journalists felt their work was incomplete after they were able to escape the besieged city of Mariupol early in the Russian invasion. with PBS Frontline to create what will be 20 Days in Mariupol, which premieres at this weekend’s Sundance Film Festival.
Director and Producer Mstyslav Chernov, Stills Photographer Evgeniy Maloletka, Field Producer Vasilisa Stepanenko and PBS Producer Michelle Mizner stopped by TheWrap’s Portrait and Video Studio at The Music Lodge to discuss a new documentary.
“We felt obligated [as] Not only journalists, but also Ukrainians,” Chernov told Sharon Waxman, CEO and editor-in-chief of TheWrap. “This is our community. This is our country.
“Perhaps 50 or 100 years from now, someone will say, ‘What happened? So how did that invasion start? What happened to Mariupol? and how unbearable human pain is!”
Although the film is told through the perspective of journalists, he said their feelings about the horrors they witnessed were “secondary” to those of Mariupol’s residents.
“It is very important [the film] Without getting in the way, so that the audience could feel what the Mariupol residents actually felt,” he said.
From dropping bombs to children dying in the hospital in front of their parents, everyone involved was deeply affected by the scenes captured on film.
Marotka recalled recording these incidents “with tears in her eyes.” He recalled, “Doctors yelled, ‘Show this to Putin. They might see this. They’re killing Ukrainians.'” It’s really hard for us to understand that these are our relatives and friends.
PBS producer Mizner spoke about what it was like to work on the film since he hadn’t been with them in Ukraine.
“They are very humble and [do] I don’t accept that the reason we document evidence of these potential war crimes is because they’re filming it,” she said.
The resulting 90-minute documentary talks about “why it’s sometimes important to work on a team you’re not on.”
“I was watching the footage and I could see Mstislav’s personality shining through, the way he films things, the way tragedy happens. You could feel the emotion coming from him and get to know him that way.
Watch the full interview above.
TheWrap’s portrait and video studio at The Music Lodge during the 2023 Sundance Film Festival is sponsored by NFP, with support from Sylvania and HigherDOSE.
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