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NOW AN ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
In a time of conflict and darkness in her home in Aleppo, Syria, one young woman kept her camera rolling — while falling in love, getting married, having a baby and saying goodbye as her city crumbled.
Directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, the documentary For Sama unfolds as a love letter from al-Kateab to her daughter — Sama.
Running time: one hour and twenty five minutes
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Waad Al-Kateab (Arabic: وعد الخطيب; born c. 1991) is the pseudonym of a Syrian journalist, filmmaker, and activist. The pseudonymous surname Al-Kateab is used to protect her family.
In 2009, 18-year-old Al-Kateab moved to Aleppo to study economics at the University of Aleppo. In 2011, when the Syrian Civil War broke out, she began reporting on the war for Channel 4 News in the United Kingdom. She elected to stay and document her life over five years in Aleppo as she falls in love with Hamza – her friend-turned-husband, a doctor – and gives birth to their first daughter, Sama (“Sky”) in 2015, which became the basis of For Sama. For covering the Siege of Aleppo, she won an International Emmy for her reporting, the first Syrian to do so. For Sama, directed with Edward Watts, won the Prix L’Œil d’or for best documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, receiving a six-minute standing ovation. At the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, For Sama became the most nominated documentary in the history of the British Academy Film Awards with four nominations, winning for Best Documentary.
After fleeing Aleppo in December 2016, Al-Kateab, her husband, and their two daughters reside in the United Kingdom