For Sama

Directed by Waad Al-Kateab & Edward Watts

Syria/UK/USA | 2019 | 100 mins


About the Film

WARNING: This film contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.

“For Sama powerfully mixes the personal and the political to thought-provoking, emotional ends. The result is one of the best documentaries of 2019.” Ian Feer, Empire

How do people survive and care for one another in the midst of constant violence? For Sama is a gripping documentary about daily life in Aleppo during the war in Syria. The recipient of numerous international awards, it is based on the remarkable videos made by Syrian journalist, Waad Al-Kateab, as she volunteers at one of the few remaining hospitals, meets and marries one of the doctors there, and gives birth to their first daughter, Sama, all in the face of repeated bombings and fighting on the ground. The film is cast as a letter to Sama when she is older, intended to explain why her parents chose to remain so long in their home city as the violence and civilian deaths kept mounting around them.

Film Trailer


  • Academy Awards, 2020, Nominee, Best Documentary Feature
  • Cannes Film Festival, 2019, The Golden Eye (Best Documentary Film
  • British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 2020, Best Documentary Feature
  • Amsterdam International Documentary Festival, 2019, Audience Award
  • Durban International Film Festival, 2019, Best Film
  • European Film Awards, 2019, European Documentary
  • Guanajuato International Film Festival, 2019, Festival Prize, Best International Documentary Feature
  • Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2019, Special Jury Prize, International Feature Documentary
  • International Documentary Association, 2019, Best Feature, and Courage Under Fire Award
  • Munich Film Festival, 2019, Audience Award
  • National Board of Review (USA), 2019, Freedom of Expression Award
  • SXSW Film Festival, 2019, Grand Jury Award, Documentary Feature, and Audience Award, Documentary Feature

About the Director

Waad Al-Kateab is a Syrian journalist, filmmaker, and activist. In 2009 she moved to Aleppo to study economics, and two years later, when the Syrian Civil War began, she began reporting for Channel 4 News. Her coverage of the battle of Aleppo won her an International Emmy Award for Current Affairs & News. She is the first Syrian to do so. Her debut feature documentary, For Sama, is the most nominated documentary in the history of the British Academy Film Awards.

Edward Watts is an English documentary and narrative filmmaker. His 2015 film Escape From ISIS focused on the experience of women living under the regime of the Islamic State, and won him the 2016 International Emmy Award for Current Affairs.

Additional Materials

Listen to our Spotify playlist inspired by the film!


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