“For Sama” Wins SXSW 2019 Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature


SXSW 2019

March 14, 2019
Anne Husted Series Publicity Manager, FRONTLINE

On Tuesday, the SXSW Film Festival awarded For Sama with the 2019 Jury Award for best documentary feature. The documentary had its world premiere at SXSW earlier this week.

For Sama tells the story of 26-year-old Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab — who directed the film alongside Edward Watts. The Emmy Award-winning filmmakers tell the story of al-Kateab’s life in the rebel-held city of Aleppo during five years of Syrian uprising. The film documents her journey through love, motherhood, war and survival.

“This award means a lot to me,” al-Kateab said. “It feels like the first step to prove that people do care about what happened to us and that the sacrifices that the Syrian people made were not for nothing.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased to receive this recognition from such an important festival as SXSW,” Watts said. “It’s a real honor and I hope that it will bring new audiences to the film, Waad’s story and the truth about what happened in Syria.”

FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath recognized al-Kateab and Watts for the win. “We are thrilled to see For Sama recognized in this way at SXSW,” Aronson-Rath said. “Congratulations to Waad and Ed for their remarkable storytelling and access, as well as to our partners at Channel 4. We look forward to sharing this documentary with our PBS audience later this year.”

Following a U.S. theatrical release, a broadcast version of the documentary is slated to premiere on FRONTLINE (PBS), and internationally on Channel 4, later this year.

*UPDATE: On March 16, 2019, For Sama was also awarded with the 2019 SXSW Audience Award.

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 20 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. 

Press Contact: , 617.300.5375


In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus