FRONTLINE (PBS) Screens Three Acclaimed Documentaries at 2019 Hot Docs Festival


Waad al-Khataeb

April 29, 2019

Films include For Sama, On the President’s Orders and The Trial of Ratko Mladić

On Monday, FRONTLINE (PBS) screened three of its acclaimed documentaries — For Sama, On The President’s Orders and The Trial of Ratko Mladić at the 2019 Hot Docs Festival in Toronto, Canada. Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary festival, offering a selection of more than 200 films from around the world.

“My hope is that these films start a conversation,” said FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “There is a sense of community and connection that you can only get when watching a film with other people in a theater, which is why we are moving toward a multi-platform approach to distributing our films. We are telling stories that matter, and we want these films to enter the world in a way that can impact change.”

Winner of both the documentary jury and audience awards following its debut at SXSW, For Sama tells the story of director Waad al-Kateab’s life over five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria. The camera rolls as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to her daughter Sama. Al-Kateab and her co-director, Edward Watts, capture the incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival, all while she wrestles with the decision of whether or not to flee her home to protect her daughter.

From directors Olivier Sarbil and James Jones, On the President’s Orders documents President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly campaign against drug dealers and addicts in the Philippines, told with unprecedented and intimate access to both sides of the war — the Manila police and a family living in poverty. Following the film’s international festival debut at CPH:DOX in February, Hot Docs will be On the President’s Orders’ North American festival premiere.

And six years in the making, Henry Singer and Rob Miller’s two-hour feature The Trial of Ratko Mladić chronicles the war crimes tribunal of “the Butcher of Bosnia.” The film examines the historic five-year trial with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the prosecution and defense teams, as well as to witnesses from both sides.

Following their theatrical releases, a broadcast version of For Sama and On the President’s Orders will air on FRONTLINE (PBS) later this year. The Trial of Ratko Mladić debuted on FRONTLINE in March, and is available to stream on

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).

On the President’s Orders is a FRONTLINE PBS and ARTE France production with Mongoose Pictures in association with BBC Storyville and Bertha DOC SOCIETY. The directors are Olivier Sarbil and James Jones. The producers are James Jones, Dan Edge and Raney Aronson-Rath. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

The Trial of Ratko Mladić is a Sandpaper Films production for WGBH/FRONTLINE in association with BBC, WDR and VPRO. The co-directors are Henry Singer and Rob Miller. The co-producers are Henry Singer, Rob Miller and Ida Ven Bruusgaard. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

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, 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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