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Syrian Film Wins Best Documentary at Cannes

There were 5 Arab nominees for various awards at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival this year, and “For Sama” by Emmy award winners, Waad Al Kateab and Edward Watts was the only one up for an award in the Special Screenings category. Winning the Golden Eye prize, was the Syrian docu-film which is based on the real life struggles of Waad Al Kateab who directed and produced the film.

The narrative is based on Al Kateab’s life in war torn Aleppo as it tells her story of wanting to be a journalist, falling in love and marrying once of the last few doctors in the city and finally, giving birth to her daughter, Sama, for whom the film is dedicated to.

Given the tag line “a love letter from a young mother to her daughter”, Al Kateab’s film’s objective is to convey her journey to her daughter and to tell her about the circumstances in which she was born. “For Sama” got a standing ovation as well as critical accolades. The documentary also won the Grand Jury Award and Audience Award for Best Documentary at the SXSW Festival.

Up for a nomination in the Palme d’Or category was another Arab filmmaker; Palestinian director Elia Suleiman’s film, “It Must Be Heaven” didn’t win the prize, but was noted by the jury.

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