Love, motherhood and survival during the Syrian civil war are examined in remarkable FRONTLINE program tonight on Detroit Public Television. “For Sama” follows the story of an award-winning award-winning director who gets married and gives birth while filming the horrors of the conflict around her.
Click here to view “For Sama” online via FRONTLINE. The program aired Tuesday, Nov. 19 on DPTV (56.1).
Unfolding as a love letter from filmmaker and young mother Waad al-Kateab to her daughter, it tells the story of al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in rebel-held Aleppo, Syria. She falls in love, gets married and gives birth to her daughter Sama — all while filming the cataclysmic conflict raging around them.
“For Sama” has received numerous accolades on the film festival circuit — including winning the Prix L’Œil d’Or for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, and the Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary at Hot Docs.
The documentary chronicles Sama’s first year of life — the last year of the battle for the city, and a time of almost unimaginable darkness. Hospitals are bombed, Aleppo is besieged by the Assad regime, and the remaining civilians witness attacks by chlorine gas, cluster and barrel bombs, and massacres of women and children.
Amid the horror, baby Sama gives her mother the strength to endure – fighting for her dream of a free Syria while filming, directing and producing “For Sama” and offering a lens into the country’s war through her eyes.
It captures haunting stories of loss and survival, juxtaposed with moments of laughter and joy between a mother and daughter. All the while, al-Kateab wrestles with an impossible choice: whether to flee Aleppo to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.
The result is an unforgettable, 90-minute documentary that online film review site Film Threat calls “one of the most important films you will ever see in your life.”
As Detroit’s leading showcase for nonfiction filmmaking, DPTV is proud to be the local home of FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series. Documenting the most urgent issues of our time with powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 91 Emmy Awards and 20 Peabody Awards.
Please join us tonight for a meaningful and memorable film experience.