The British film, For Sama, was awarded the highest jury prize at the 2019 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on Friday. The documentary had already won the best documentary award at SXSW.
Directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, the film centers on a Syrian filmmaker and mother, al-Kateab, who films the violence in Syria over the span of five years. During this project, she had a child while documenting how the conflicts affected women and children. This endeavor took place to help her daughter one day understand why she stayed in Aleppo.
“I feel it does justice to our experience, our sacrifices and the unimaginable pain of what we, the Syrian people, endured during those years of the revolution,” al-Kateab said in an interview with PBS’s Frontline. “It’s our story, our voices, and I’m proud of it. This film is also for the people’s loss — a testament to their sacrifices.”
The best international feature documentary award went to Hope Frozen, directed by Pailin Wedel. The film details the life of a family from Bangkok who decides to preserve their deceased daughter. The best Canadian feature documentary award was given to Tasha Hubbard’s Nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up. The film focuses on a distraught family that the questions the viability of the Canadian justice system after a shooter was acquitted for killing a young man.
For Sama will air on Frontline and Channel 4 later in the year. This news was reported by The Hollywood Reporter.