Syrian documentary film For Sama wins Emmy International Award

Syrian documentary film For Sama wins Emmy International Award
Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab has won an Emmy International Award for her critically acclaimed film For Sama, which tells the heartbreaking story of life in besieged Aleppo.
2 min read
24 November, 2020
Waad al-Kateab won an Emmy Award [Getty]

Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab has won an Emmy international award for her critically-acclaimed documentary film For Sama.


The film, released in September 2019, depicted the struggles of Syrians in rebel-held east Aleppo as they lived through a brutal siege and indiscriminate bombardment carried out by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies.

It especially focused on the turmoil in the last remaining hospital in east Aleppo.

On receiving the award, al-Kateab said, “This award is for Syria. People usually say For Sama is hard to watch, but the reality is harder.”

She called on people to take part in her Action for Sama campaign, which aims to stop the bombing of hospitals in Syria by the Assad regime.

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

Al-Kateab’s film was based on news reports she had made for the UK broadcaster Channel 4 in 2016. She was pregnant with and later gave birth to her daughter Sama, to whom the film is dedicated, while she filmed the reports.

Channel 4 News Editor Ben De Pear said in 2017, “We are honoured to have worked with such a brave and brilliant woman, who whilst heavily pregnant gave the world a searing and visceral insight into the hell of Aleppo.”

Reviewers praised For Sama for its unique portrayal of the joys of everyday life amid the horrors of war and for giving a voice and a human face to the people of besieged Aleppo.

The Syrian conflict began in 2011 when the Assad regime brutally suppressed peaceful pro-democracy protests, which Al-Kateab and her husband Hamza, a medical doctor who worked at east Aleppo’s last hospital, took part in.

More than 500,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced since then, mostly as a result of Assad regime bombardment of civilian areas.

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