“For Sama” Selected to Screen at Cannes Film Festival

April 18, 2019

For Sama, a documentary telling the story of one woman’s journey through love, motherhood, war and survival during five years of the Syrian conflict, has been selected to screen at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Emmy award-winning filmmakers Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, the documentary chronicles the experiences of 26-year-old Syrian filmmaker al-Kateab — who filmed her life in the rebel-held city of Aleppo over five years. Following its theatrical release this summer, a broadcast version of For Sama is slated to premiere both on FRONTLINE (PBS) in the U.S. and internationally on Channel 4 later in 2019.

The film, which The Washington Post recently described as a “deeply personal journey of motherhood in wartime,” won the SXSW 2019 Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature in March.

“I was afraid I would never tell this story, and that the crimes I witnessed would be never be seen or heard,” al-Kateab told Channel 4 News and ITN Productions. “While I was in Aleppo I dreamt of making this film for my daughter Sama — to explain to her why we stayed. I feel it does justice to our experience, our sacrifices and the unimaginable pain of what we, the Syrian people, endured during those years of the revolution. It’s our story, our voices, and I’m proud of it. This film is also for the people lost — a testament to their sacrifices.”

Al-Kateab fell in love, got married and had a daughter all while filming the violence raging around her – and in particular, documenting the unique challenges the Syrian conflict imposed on women and children. Along with a close group of friends, al-Kateab stayed in the city to fight for her dream of a free Syria – filming, directing and producing For Sama, and offering a lens into the country’s war through her eyes.

“We’re thrilled that For Sama will screen at Cannes, and proud to bring Waad’s remarkable story to our PBS audience later this year,” said FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath.

The 2019 Cannes Film Festival will take place May 14-25.

For Sama is produced by Channel 4 News/ITN Productions for Channel 4 and WGBH/FRONTLINE. The directors are Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts. For Sama is filmed and produced by Waad al-Kateab. The senior producer is Dan Edge (FRONTLINE). The executive producers are Raney Aronson-Rath (FRONTLINE), Ben de Pear, Nevine Mabro, & Siobhan Sinnerton (Channel 4), and George Waldrum (ITN).

FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 91 Emmy Awards and 21 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTubeTumblr and Google+ to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, Heising-Simons Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

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