Spotlight on Arab cinema

An emotional story of a mother raising her daughter during the Syrian civil war “For Sama” has won best documentary award at the BAFTAs last night.

Syrian filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab accepted the award alongside her four-year-old daughter Sama, for whom the film was made. During her speech she said:

“I wanted to dedicate it to the great Syrian people who are still suffering today and the nurses, doctors and volunteers, I dedicate it to them, let them hear your voice.”


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Last month, “For Sama” received Academy Award nomination in the Best Documentary Feature category. This makes it the only film from the region to be included in this year’s ceremony.

The film first premiered in March of last year, at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary. It also received the Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary at the Hot Docs Festival. Not only that, but it also took home the Golden Eye Documentary Prize at Cannes Film Festival.

In an interview with France 24 last year, Waad said of the movie: “The film was made to justify to my daughter Sama the very cruel choice we had to take.”

Congratulations Waad Al-Kateab!

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