FOR SAMA Wins Best Documentary at Cannes Film Festival


Waad al-Kateab filming the ruins of a building destroyed by bombing in besieged east Aleppo in October 2016.

May 25, 2019
Anne Husted Manager, Public Relations & Communications, FRONTLINE

For Samaa documentary telling the story of one woman’s journey through love, motherhood, war and survival during five years of the Syrian conflict — has been awarded the Prix L’Œil d’Or for Best Documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Emmy award-winning filmmakers Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts (Escaping ISIS), 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.

This is the first time that a FRONTLINE documentary has been honored with this award at the Cannes Film Festival. Following its U.S. 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 was featured at Cannes Film Festival as a Special Screening, where it received a standing ovation and critical accolades. Patricio Guzman’s The Cordillera of Dreams was also honored with the Prix L’Œil award at this year’s festival.

Earlier this year, For Sama won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, where it premiered in March, and received the Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary at the Hot Docs Festival.

“We are delighted to see For Sama named best documentary at the Cannes Film Festival,” said FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “We congratulate Waad, Ed, and our partners at Channel 4 News, C4 and ITN Productions on this incredible honor. We are proud to share Waad’s story with our PBS audience later this year.”

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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