For Sama: interviewing Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts

In an awards season where the Academy Awards’ Best Director nominees are all male, it’s in the Documentary Feature category that you’ll find the women, on four out of the five nominated films: Julia Reichert (a director of American Factory), Petra Costa (director of The Edge of Democracy), Tamara Kotevska (co-director of Honeyland), and Waad al-Kateab, one half of For Sama’s directing team. (The final nominee is Feras Fayad’s The Cave, notably produced by Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjær.)

For Sama began as a record of the tragedies that so many don’t see, and turned into an essential, enormous archive of footage taking the documentary world by storm this awards season. There have been, and will be, many other documentaries about Syria, but what makes For Sama unique is its female eye behind the camera.

Looking forward to a future as a new mother and young wife to the love of her life, Hamza, Waad al-Kateab was never afforded the freedom to simply savor young motherhood. From age 21 she filmed the horrors and small joys of every-day life in rebel-held Aleppo covering five years of political uprising. This included the taxing day-to-day work of her doctor husband and their friends in the small hospital they ran on courage and donations.

Read the full interview on Letterboxd

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