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December 18, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:44am

Channel 4 News Syrian war film by Waad Al-Kateab up for best documentary Oscar

By Freddy Mayhew

Channel 4 News documentary For Sama, filmed and narrated by journalist Waad Al-Kateab about her life under siege in the Syrian city of Aleppo, is in the running for an Oscar.

The film has made the shortlist of films in contention for the Documentary Feature award at the 92nd Academy Awards, to be held next year. The five-strong list was whittled down from 159 entries.

Al-Kateab’s dispatches from Aleppo for Channel 4 News as regime forces closed in were seen by millions on TV and online. She fled the country in December 2016 and now claims asylum in the UK.

Her work earned her an Emmy and a British Journalism Award.

In the UK she worked with Channel 4 News to cut For Sama, named after her first child, born amid the bombing of Aleppo, from more than 300 hours of footage she had taken.

The film spans five years from the first hopeful protests against President Bashar Al-Assad in 2011 as the Arab Spring took hold in Syria through to the sacking of Aleppo by regime and Russian forces in 2016.

It is narrated by Al-Kateab in her native Arabic and co-directed by Al-Kateab and Edward Watts.

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The film has already won best documentary at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Oscars take place on 9 February.

Al-Kateab spoke with Press Gazette earlier this year, saying that if she had not filmed the plight of civilians during the Syrian civil war then “these stories all die”.

For Sama can still be seen online at All 4.

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