by Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
Country: UK, Siria, USA
Year: 2019
Duration: 100'

The winner of many prizes and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, For Sama recounts the life of Waad Al-Kateab, a Syrian journalist, activist, and director, who, between 2011 and 2016, filmed the revolt in Aleppo against Assad's regime. As the Syrian conflict escalates, Waad falls in love with Hamza Al-Ketab – one of the last doctors who chose to remain in the rebel zone in the Syrian city. The two marry and their daughter Sama is born. The director creates a video-letter for her daughter, explaining why she decided to remain in Aleppo, at the risk of endangering her own life and that of little Sama.


film director

Waad Al-Kateab

(Siria, 1991) is an award-winning Syrian filmmaker. She became a citizen journalist in 2011, after protests broke out across Syria against the Assad regime, and in January 2016 she began documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News in a series titled, Inside Aleppo. Waad’s first feature documentary, For Sama, documented her life over five years in Aleppo. The film, directed with Edward Watts, received worldwide critical acclaim, winning numerous awards, including the Prix L’Œil d’or for best documentary at Cannes Film Festival, Best Documentary at the BAFTAs and a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards. After fleeing Aleppo in December 2016, Waad, her husband, and their two daughters now reside in London, United Kingdom. Waad continues to work with Channel 4 News and dedicates time to her advocacy campaign, Action For Sama.


For Sama (Alla mia piccola Sama, coregia Edward Watts, doc, 2019).

Edward Watts

(UK) collaborates with British broadcasters on documentaries, which are often films of denunciation and about social issues. One of his most famous movies, Escape from ISIS (2015), about the treatment of women in the Islamic State, won numerous prizes, including an Emmy. That same year, he shot The Mega Brothel, and in 2017 the short Oksijan was presented at the BFI London Film Festival. The movie won the Prix L'Œil d'r for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival, Best Documentary at the BAFTAs, and an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary.


Children of Genocide (doc, cm, 2007), God’s Own Country (doc, cm, 2008), Sea of Tears (doc, cm, 2008), Forest of the Dead (doc, cm, 2009), Children of the Inferno (doc, cm, 2009), Defenders of Karachi (doc, cm, 2011), Secret Pakistan (serie doc, 2011), Norway’s Massacre (doc, 2012), Chinese Murder Mystery (doc, mm, 2012), Nigeria’s Hidden War (doc, 2014), Welcome to Rio (serie doc, 2014), The Mega Brothel (doc, 2015), Escape from ISIS (doc, 2015), Oksijan (doc, cm, 2017), For Sama (Alla mia piccola Sama, coregia Waad Al-Keteab, doc, 2019).


film director

“When I began to work with Edwards Watts, I didn't want to censor or eliminate any of the horror I was witnessing. But then I realized that I had penetrated too deeply into the darkness. So we coupled the cruelty with Sama. Life, tenderness. Every mother in a war zone experiences an enormous conflict between what she wants to do and what she ought to do. Sometimes, I was spurred by my faith in Syria's revolution; at others, I was tormented about her. How can you teach a child to be good, if you are the first one to only think about yourself?”


& Credits

DIRECTOR: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Waad Al-Kateab. FILM EDITING: Chloe Lambourne, Simon McMaho. MUSIC: Nainita Desai. SOUND: Jez Spencer. CAST: Waad Al-Kateab, Hamza Al-Kateab, Sama Al-Kateab. PRODUCTION: Channel 4 News, ITN Productions. DISTRIBUTION: Wanted.

CONTACTS: Wanted, Anastasia Plazzotta anastasia.plazzotta@gmail.com