Winner 2019

For Sama

FRONTLINE PBS, Channel 4 News, ITN Productions, Channel 4

What is it like to live in the confines of a brutal war zone, in one of the few functioning hospitals constantly under brutal bombardment from Bashar al-Assad’s forces and his Russian allies? What is it like to live there and fall in love, marry, have a baby, and feel compelled to stay to support those around you who need help? These are the existential questions that Waad al-Kateab wrestles with and faces head-on in the painful and poetic testament that is For Sama. In this letter to her child, Sama, al-Kateab is our guide through the terrible choices that have to be made when one is engulfed in conflict. The choice to flee is much more wrenching than one might imagine, the choice to stay is equally confounding, yet understandable. We have all seen the war in Syria in countless news reports, but we have not seen it like this. This film, disguised as a letter to young Sama, ultimately implicates us all in the life-or-death choices that people have to make, and in doing so, For Sama deserves a Peabody Award.


Executive Producers: Raney Aronson-Rath, Ben de Pear, Nevine Mabro, Siobhan Sinnerton, George Waldrum. Directors: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts. Producer: Waad al-Kateab. Senior Producer: Dan Edge. Managing Editor: Andrew Metz. Writer: Waad al-Kateab. Editors: Chloe Lambourne, Simon McMahon. Cinematography: Waad al-Kateab. Sound / Music: Nainita Desai.