Hard-hitting Syria documentaries, For Sama and The Cave, nominated for Oscars

Hard-hitting Syria documentaries, For Sama and The Cave, nominated for Oscars
The Cave and For Sama have been nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars.
2 min read
13 January, 2020
For Sama has been nominated for an Oscar [Getty]
Two gritty documentaries covering the war in Syria were announced as Academy Awards nominees - better known as the Oscars - on Monday, the latest accolade for the Syrian film-makers.

For Sama and The Cave were named by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - widely considered the film industry's biggest prize - as nominees for the Oscars' "Best Documentary" award.

The Cave follows an all-women medical team working at an underground hospital in Eastern Ghouta, outside Damascus, as the opposition enclave is subject to continuous bombardment by regime forces.

Directed by Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, For Sama is the most dominated documentary in BAFTA history, picking up 58 awards in less than a year.

The film portrays Kataeb's struggles through pregnancy and motherhood in East Aleppo, which was under siege by the Syrian regime and also subject to repeated bombing.

Read also: For Sama - One mother's astonishing tale for her daughter documenting hope and horror in Syria

"We are so delighted and honoured to be nominated for an Oscar, alongside these incredible films and filmmakers. It is a moment that we had never imagined on a journey spanning nine-years from near death to new life," Al-Kateab and Watts responded to the nomination, according to Channel 4.

It is hoped that both films will shine a light on the Syria war, which broke out in 2011 after regime forces suppressed peaceful protests sparking an armed revolt against Bashar Al-Assad. 

More than half-a-million people have lost their lives in the conflict, the vast majority civilians killed in regime and Russian airstrikes.

"We hope that the nomination will encourage as many people as possible to go and see the film and learn the true story of the Syrian conflict," the directors said.

"And we ask them to remember that what they see in the film is still happening today in Idlib, the last part of Syria outside the control of the Assad dictatorship, where hospitals, schools and children are being bombed by the regime and its Russian allies every day."

East Aleppo was captured by the regime in December 2016, while opposition Eastern Ghouta fell in 2018, both after horrific Russian-backed assaults.

Idlib, the last province under opposition control, is also under siege by Russian and regime forces, with hundreds killed in the past few months and hundreds thousands made homeless.

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