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The Arab Film To Watch Out for at the BAFTAs 2020


For Sama, by Syrian filmmaker, Waad Al Kateab is carrying Arab cinema into the global limelight as the film is set to receive international recognition once again at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, otherwise known as the BAFTAs.

For Sama is a war documentary set in Aleppo in Syria, that tells the touching tale of a mother during the revolution there, and has received four nominations – making it the BAFTAs’ most nominated feature documentary in the history of the awards.

Waad Al Kateab

Al Kateab’s docu-film has been nominated for Outstanding Debut, Outstanding British Film, Best Documentary and Best Film Not In English Language. Since it’s release, For Sama has received recognition at the British Independent Film Awards, Emmy Awards, International Documentary Association Awards, Cannes Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival, and has also been nominated for the 2020 Academy Awards in the Best Documentary Feature category.

Waad Al Kateab recorded her experience of living in war-torn Aleppo, from where she originates, and started by filming short clips and videos on her phone – saving images of survival, suffering and some joyous moments. Overall, the feature length documentary is a letter from mother to daughter, as it documents 5 years of Waad’s life, from marriage and giving birth to her daughter Sama, to making a decision between fleeing the warzone or staying and fighting for Syria’s freedom.

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