Syrian Film, For Sama, Wins Best Documentary Bafta

02 February 2020
Culture, Film, Awards, BAFTAs, For Sama, Arabic, Documentary, Syria

Film about a child born during the siege of Aleppo earned a record number of nominations and collected a huge prize

For Sama, the Syrian documentary film about war in Aleppo has won the Documentary BAFTA at the 2020 ceremony .

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Despite this year’s diversity row after the list of best actor nominations were majority white and the best director category failed to include a woman for seventh year in a row, For Sama bucked the trend.

Made by Syrian director Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, the documentary follows al-Kateab over five years, living through the uprising in Aleppo. Over the course of the film she falls in love and gives birth, all while the conflict rages around her.

The film was nominated in four categories: Outstanding British Film; Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer; Best Film Not In The English Language; and Best Documentary.

Read More: Two Arab films win at TIFF

Al-Kateab began as a ‘citizen’ journalist, reporting from inside Aleppo for the UK’s Channel 4 news. Her Inside Aleppo reports won her an Emmy, but the film is a tribute to her daughter, who was raised in the city.

For Sama was up against some big hitters: Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona, The Great Hack by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, American Factory by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert and Apollo 11 by Todd Douglas Miller.

When it was shown at Cannes it reportedly received a six-minute standing ovation and the film's power clearly hasn't diminished since.

Results from tonight's ceremony, held in London, are still incoming.

1917, The Irishman, Joker, Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood and Parasite are all up for Best Film, which is yet to be announced.

Best director nominations have gone to Sam Mendes – 1917, Martin Scorsese - The Irishman, Todd Phillips – Joker, Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood and Bong Joon-Ho – Parasite; Greta Gerwig being the obvious omission here for her outstanding Little Women.