Syrian war documentary For Sama wins Best Documentary BAFTA

Harrowing Syrian war documentary For Sama wins Best Documentary at 2020 BAFTAs
2 min read
03 February, 2020
A documentary film about a young mother's experience amid the Syrian civil war took home a Best Documentary win and 4 nominations at the 2020 BAFTAs.
The film made history at the 2020 BAFTAs [For Sama Official Poster]
For Sama, a 2019 Syrian documentary depicting a young mother's life during the civil war, won Best Documentary at the 74th British Academy Film Awards on Sunday.
The film, directed by Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, also became the BAFTAs' most nominated feature documentary.

In addition to the Best Documentary category, For Sama was also nominated for Outstanding British Film; Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer; and Best Film Not In The English Language.


For Sama revolves around the experiences of Al-Kateab, a Syrian refugee.

Portrayed as a letter from mother to daughter, the director films her day-to-day life in Aleppo over the course of five years, from the city's 2011 uprising to its siege by Bashar al-Assad's forces. Al-Kateab gets married and gives birth to her daughter Sama, whose upbringing amid chaotic warfare fills the new mother with palpable fear.

Al-Kateab took the BAFTA stage with her husband Hamza and four year old Sama, who was the first to hold the presigious award. Watts and Afraa Hashem, a Syrian teacher featured in the film, stood alongside the family.


The Syrian filmmaker saw an opportunity in her acceptance speech and shifted the star-studded audience's attention to Syrian civilians' plight.

"This award, I will dedicate it for the great Syrian people who [are] still suffering until today and the great heroes of doctors, nurses, civil defence," she said.

Al-Kateab, who uses a pseudonym due to safety concerns, fled Syria with her family in 2016. She currently resides in London with her husband and two daughters.