Syrian documentaries depicting horrors of war 'For Sama' and 'The Cave' shortlisted for Oscars

Syrian documentaries depicting horrors of war 'For Sama' and 'The Cave' shortlisted for Oscars
The films were shortlisted alongside 15 others in the Academy Awards, and in January five will be chosen to go forward to The Oscars ceremony.
2 min read
17 December, 2019
Award-winning Syrian documentary For Sama could be adding to its accolades after it was shortlisted for an Oscar today, while The Cave, another Syrian documentary, has also been shortlisted. 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released shortlists in consideration for the Oscars in nine categories: documentary feature, documentary short subject, international feature film, makeup and hairstyling, music (original score), music (original song), animated short film, live action short film and visual effects.

Read also: For Sama - An Astonishing Tale of Love and Horror

For Sama was picked, along with fifteen other films out of 159 for the documentary feature category.

Syrian director Waad Al-Kateab's harrowing documentary was selected by Members of the Documentary branch, along with American Factory (Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar), Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller) and Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov) among others.

The documentary has been wion a clutch of awards over the past year.

Earlier this year it won the Prix L’Ceil d’Or for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival; it won Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) as well as taking home Best Director, Best Documentary and Best Editing awards.

Al-Kateab decided to make her family the subject of the documentary, and over the course of two years she documented herself, her husband Hamza and their young daughter Sama, who was born during Aleppo's infamous siege.

The documentary features shocking footage of people in Aleppo, and it doesn’t shy away from the violence the people of the opposition were subject to during the regime-Russian bombardment.

The Cave takes a different route. Directed by Feras Fayyad, the Syrian-Danish production is a companion piece to his earlier film Last Men in Aleppo, and looks at Amani Ballor, a female doctor in the opposition territory of Eastern Ghouta, who operated a makeshift hospital in a cave during the Syrian war. 

The fifteen shortlisted films will be narrowed down to five when the official nominations will be released on 13 January, one month before the Oscars.

The documentaries are especially salient during this time, as Syria continues to suffer under airstrikes.

Two children and one woman were killed on Monday in Russian airstrikes on the Syrian town of Binnish in eastern Idlib province, and four other people were injured.

The regime and Russia resumed airstrikes on Idlib province at the beginning of November, following a two-month lull.

277 civilians, including 72 children and 32 women, were killed last month.

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