Amidst the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity at the BAFTA’s, one Middle Eastern film is quietly breaking records and amassing widespread critical acclaim. For Sama, a documentary produced by Syrian refugee and film maker Waad Al-Kateab about life inside besieged Aleppo has been nominated for a total of four different awards; making it the most nominated documentary in the history of the British Film Academy Awards.
The acclaimed movie, which was filmed over 5 years by Waad, has already been awarded the Prix L’Oeil D’Or for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival as well as four trophies at the British Independent Film Awards in 2019. At the 2020 BAFTAs, For Sama is contending in the categories of: Documentary, Outstanding British Film, Film Not in English Language and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.
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#ForSama receives Special Recognition for Courage in Filmmaking Award at DOCNYC. Judges said director Waad al-Kateab “put her body & her camera in the path of death and didn’t flinch. She produced a moving, human portrait of the human will to survive & the refusal to surrender."
The moving film showcases first-hand footage filmed by Waad as she goes through life in a city under siege; from meeting her husband and falling in love to getting married and giving birth to her daughter Sama, Waad has documented it all. The footage offers heart wrenching insight into the turmoil faced by civilians during the Syrian Civil War from places that were inaccessible to international press and photographers. Waad fled Syria in 2016, bringing her footage with her to the UK where she worked with Channel 4’s Edward Watts to cut and edit the footage into an award-winning film that tells the story of life in a manner that transcends language, race and culture.
Watch the trailer of For Sama here.