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"I wish I had never been on this stage..." Mstyslav Chernov, the director of 20 Days in Mariupol, gave a powerful speech at the Oscars 2024. Full text and video

Mstyslav Chernov delivered a strong speech at the Oscars 2024

On the night of March 10-11, the documentary 20 Days in Mariupol won the first Oscar for independent Ukraine. Delivering his victory speech from the stage, the film's director, videographer and military journalist Mstyslav Chernov admitted that he wished he had never made this film, and would not hesitate to exchange the golden statuette for peace in his native country.

This became known to OBOZ.UA while watching the live broadcast. Speaking to the elite of the cinematic world, Chernov emphasized that, unfortunately, it is impossible to change the past, but documentaries allow us to preserve the truth about it. In our case, it is the truth about the brutal crimes committed by Russians in the once flourishing Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

The director first emphasized that this was the first Oscar in the history of Ukraine. The audience immediately supported him with loud applause and cheers.

''I wish I had never been on this stage...'' Mstyslav Chernov, the director of 20 Days in Mariupol, gave a powerful speech at the Oscars 2024. Full text and video

"This is the first Oscar in the history of Ukraine. I'm grateful, it's an honor for me, but I'll probably be the first director on this stage to say: "I didn't want to make this movie. I would like to be able to exchange this Oscar for Russia never attacking Ukraine, never occupying our cities, for Russians not killing tens of thousands of my fellow Ukrainian citizens. I would give it up to have them release all the hostages, the soldiers who defended our land, the civilians in their prisons. But I can't change history, I can't change the past, but we are all together, you and I, we are among the most talented people in the world. We can make sure that history is corrected, that the truth prevails. And so that the people of Mariupol who died and those who gave their lives will never be forgotten. Because cinema shapes memories, and memories shape history," Chernov powerfully addressed the international audience of millions.

At the end, the director added in Ukrainian: "Glory to Ukraine!"

As a reminder, Mstyslav Chernov and photographer Yevhen Malolietka documented the horrific destruction of Mariupol as a result of Russian bombing: houses, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure facilities were destroyed. The film shows the attempts of Mariupol residents to survive the siege without water, food, or mobile communication. And all this under constant shelling by Russian troops. The film also describes the difficult and dangerous process of evacuating people from Mariupol. Chernov filmed evacuation convoys that came under repeated shelling by the occupiers.

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