For Sama is the first documentary by 26-year-old citizen journalist Waad al-Kateab. 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, she documents the Syrian uprising against Assad in the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, from the beginning to the forced evacuation at the end of 2016.
A lot happens in those five years: the hopeful revolution is crushed, the city is besieged and constantly bombed. With a handheld camera, Al-Kateab films war in all its sickening detail, sometimes barely escaping death herself. She sees the consequences up close: her husband works as a doctor in one of the few remaining hospitals in the city. In the horrific reality of war, we experience with her the uncertainty of her child’s future.
For Sama tells the inside story of the Syrian tragedy. The commentary is in the form of a letter from a mother to her child. War can’t get much closer without being there yourself.