06-24 November 2019



Film For ThoughtDocumentaries
Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts

Syria, United Kingdom

2019 / 96’ / Hawaii Premiere / Arabic
First feature


The tireless and endless Syrian conflict is well documented on the news, as well as in film — Among them Feras Fayyad’s LAST MEN IN ALEPPO, Evgeny Afineevsky’s CRIES FROM SYRIA, Matthew Heineman’s CITY OF GHOSTS, Talal Derki’s THE RETURN TO HOMS and Sebastian Junger’s HELL ON EARTH, as well as the Oscar-winning short doc THE WHITE HELMETS among others. But FOR SAMA, from directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, puts the children at its center, and the courage of one woman whose mission was to chronicle this humanitarian crisis from the ground level at any cost. 
The documentary unspools Waad al-Kateab's life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while conflict rises around her. As the title says, for one child in particular: Sama, the young daughter of al-Kateab and her husband Hamza, a doctor who ended up running the only one of the nine hospitals in East Aleppo that wasn’t bombed in Russian airstrikes. In many ways, FOR SAMA is a time capsule for a future adult Sama, as an attempt to explain why al-Kateab and her husband stayed in Aleppo under the Assad regime. However, it is not unwavering, as the years of bombing and death take a toll on Sama’s parents, as they question whether love of country is reason enough to risk death?
An intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war, FOR SAMA won the Documentary Feature Prize at this year’s SXSW, where it world premiered, and touched audiences a few months later as an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival.

-Anderson Le

Saturday 16 17:30 - 19:56Regal Dole Cannery 18
Sunday 17 15:45 - 17:26Regal Dole Cannery 15
DirectorWaad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts.
CastWaad Al-Kateab, Al-Kateab Sama and Hahamza Al-Kateab.
ScreenplayWaad Al-Kateab.
CinematographerWaad Al-Kateab.
EditorSimon, Chloe Mcmahon, Lambourne.
MusicNainita Desai.
SoundJez Spencer.
DistributorPBS Distribution.
PrizePrix L’Œil d’Or (Cannes), Special Jury Prize (SXSW, Hot Docs), Grand Prize (Traverse City Film Festival), Audience Award (Nantucket Film Festival)


Waad Al-Khateab ... producer
Raney Aronson ... executive producer
Ben de Pear ... executive producer
Nevine Mabro ... executive producer
Siobhan Sinnerton ... executive producer
George Waldrum ... executive producer

Production Management
Sam Hardy ... post-production manager
Olly Strous ... Head of Post Production

Editorial Department
Enge Gray ... colorist


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