For Sama wins the VPRO IDFA Audience Award

    For Sama (Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts, United Kingdom, 2019. 95 min., Best of Fests) has won the VPRO IDFA Audience Award (€ 5.000), the grand public prize of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The news was announced on Friday evening before screening the winning film in Pathé Tuschinski.

    For Sama is the first documentary by 26-year-old citizen journalist Waad al-Kateab. In the film, she dedicates the film to her newborn daughter: “I need you to understand why your father and I made the choices we did, what we were fighting for.”

    With a simple digital camera, al-Kateab documents the Syrian uprising against Assad in the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, from the first moments of the uprising through to the forced evacuation at the end of 2016.

    The winner of the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is determined by festival visitors who, after an IDFA film screening, rank their appreciation for the film by way of a voting card. Now in its fourth year, the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is made possible by VPRO.

    This year 166 films were in the race for the Audience Award. In total 27.812 people voted, resulting in the following Top 10:

    For Sama
    The Cave
    Midnight Traveler
    The Euphoria of Being
    They Call Me Babu
    Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

    It is expected that IDFA 2019 will reach the record number of 295,000 visits, amounting to 10,000 more than last year. In addition, a total of 3,200 professional guests from around the world visited IDFA 2019. This is the last weekend of the festival, which lasts until Sunday. See the complete list of IDFA Award winners here.

    For Sama

    • Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
    • 2019
    • 95 min

      The 26-year-old citizen journalist Waad al-Kateab films her life in besieged Aleppo, Syria. She falls in love, marries, and gives birth to daughter Sama. In the form of a letter to Sama, the film intimately captures the reality of war and an uncertain future.

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