Syrian war film For Sama becomes most nominated documentary in Bafta history

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A film that details the female experience of the war in Syria has become the most nominated documentary in Bafta history.

For Sama follows filmmaker Waad al-Kateab through five years of the uprising in Aleppo as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while conflict rages around her.

Described as “a love letter from a young mother to her daughter”, her camera captures stories of loss, laughter and survival as she wrestles with the choice of whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving would mean abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.

The film has been nominated for outstanding British film, outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer, best film not in the English language and best documentary, making it the most recognised documentary in Bafta history, according to its distributor.

Directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts said: “It is such an honour to be nominated for a prestigious Bafta award. But to be nominated in four different categories is simply overwhelming.

“We hope For Sama gives audiences some sense of the brutal repression and humanitarian crisis in Syria which continues to this day. Congratulations to the For Sama team and to all the other Bafta nominees.”

Nevine Mabro, executive producer of For Sama and deputy editor of Channel 4 News, said: “Waad al-Kateab is a young Syrian filmmaker who is now a refugee living and working in the UK.

“I am delighted that her directorial debut For Sama has been recognised with four Bafta nominations including outstanding British film.

“This is an incredible achievement for a young woman who just three years ago we feared would not make it out of Aleppo alive.

“We have worked hard to find and develop diverse talent and these array of nominations are hugely encouraging for young women filmmakers everywhere.”