The award-winning FOR SAMA is a powerful look at a young woman’s experience during the uprising in Aleppo, Syria beginning in 2012. It is the first film to examine the Syrian conflict from a woman’s perspective, and is a personal love letter to her daughter. The film tells the story of filmmaker Waad al-Kateab’s life during those five years, as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her.
Screening of film is followed by a moderated post-film conversation with Directors Waad-Al Kateab and Edward Watts, moderated by Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.
Waad al-Kateab, Filmmaker/Subject
In January 2016 Waad al-Kateab started documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News in a series of devastating films simply titled Inside Aleppo, which became the most watched pieces on the UK news programme – and received almost half a billion views online and won 24 awards. Waad was a marketing student at the University of Aleppo when protests against the Assad regime swept the country in 2011. Like many hundreds of her fellow Syrians, she became a citizen journalist determined to document the horrors of the war. She taught herself how to film. She stayed through the devastating siege – documenting the terrible loss of life and producing some of the most memorable images of the six-year conflict. When she and her family were evacuated from Aleppo in December 2016 she managed to get all her footage out. Waad lives in London with her husband and two daughters.
Edward Watts, Filmmaker
Edward Watts is an Emmy award-winning, BAFTA nominated filmmaker who has directed over twenty narrative and documentary films that tell true stories of courage, heroism and humour from across the world, covering everything from war crimes in the Congo to the colourful lives of residents in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. His 2015 film Escape from ISIS exposed the brutal treatment of the estimated 4 million women living under the rule of the Islamic State and, for the first time on television, told the extraordinary story of an underground network trying to save those it can. Among his other work, his first narrative short film Oksijan told the incredible true story of a 7- year-old Afghan boy’s fight to survive as he is smuggled to the UK in a refrigerated lorry and the air inside begins to run out.