Making For Sama
Covering conflict in the media can be very challenging. Compassion fatigue towards the media and their reporting on lasting conflicts unfortunately is a reality. People are often tired of the news coming from conflict areas and they have a hard time relating to the numerous victims. Last year the documentary For Sama made a huge impact and attracted a lot of attention and a large audience that got emotionally very affected by seeing the film. In this livecast on October 6th 8.30 pm we talked with journalist Fréderike Geerdink and For Sama director Waad al-Kateab about narrative techniques in the award-winning documentary and how they benefit to reporting on war and conflict.
About For Sama
Still uit For Sama
For Sama (2018) is an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice – whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much. The film is the first feature documentary by Emmy award-winning filmmakers, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts. For Sama was awarded the Prix L’Œil d’Or for Best Documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It also won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the SXSW Film Festival, and the Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary at the Hot Docs Festival. Haven’t seen the film yet? Don’t worry, you can watch it on NPO Plus.
About Waad al-Kateab
Waad is an award-winning Syrian filmmaker. She became a citizen journalist in 2011, after protests broke out across Syria against the Assad regime, and in January 2016 she began documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News in a series titled, “Inside Aleppo.” Waad’s first feature documentary, For Sama, documented her life over five years in Aleppo. The film, directed with Edward Watts, received worldwide critical acclaim, winning numerous awards, including the Prix L'Œil d'or for best documentary at Cannes Film Festival, Best Documentary at the BAFTAs and a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards. After fleeing Aleppo in December 2016, Waad, her husband, and their two daughters now reside in London, United Kingdom. Waad continues to work with Channel 4 News and dedicates time to her advocacy campaign, Action For Sama.
About Afraa Hashem
Afraa Hashem is one of the main characters in For Sama and a good friend of Waad al-Kateab. Afraa opened a series of schools in Aleppo, worked as a school director and a supervisor in psychological support centers. She chose to remain in the city of Aleppo with her family during the war, to help those around her. Afraa believes in the principles of her revolution; in freedom, dignity and social justice. This is what motivated her to continue the peaceful movement. Afraa now dedicates her time to raising awareness about the situation in Syria and participates in advocacy campaigns that contribute to alleviating the pain of the innocent civilians affected by the war. One of these campaigns is Action For Sama, which was set up to turn the worldwide reaction to For Sama into positive action for Syrians
About Fréderike Geerdink
Fréderike began her journalism career in the early 1990s in the Netherlands, where she grew up. From 2006 to 2020, she worked as a freelance correspondent in Turkey and Kurdistan, where her honest journalistic coverage provoked those in power so thoroughly that she was arrested twice — and then deported. These experiences sharpened her view of the Netherlands. After all she has learned in the past 15 years, she has come home to hold power to account. She do not sit in the lap of power or practice access journalism, where the priority is maintaining connections to power. Instead, she amplifies the strong and heartfelt voices of marginalized groups. After all, they know the destructive force of power firsthand. Recently, next to thirty years of working experience, she acquired a master’s degree in journalism. She wrote The Boys Are Dead, a compelling journey about the Kurdish question. It was shortlisted for the Brusse Prize for best journalism book of 2015. For her second book This Fire Never Dies (longlisted for the Brusse Prize) she immersed herself in the world of the PKK and wrote about the organisation from within.