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Waad Al-Kateab

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Episode notes

My guest this week is multi-award winning Syrian activist and filmmaker Waad Al- Kateab. Her first feature length documentary, For Sama, filmed over five years captured her life in Aleppo under the Assad regime.

Released in 2019, the film received a six-minute standing ovation and picked up the best documentary award at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2020 it was shortlisted for an Oscar, and made BAFTA history by racking up 4 nominations and scooping up Best Documentary Film Award.

Waad has also received personal multiple recognitions for her work as an activist and filmmaker, including the IDA Courage Under Fire Award.

Waad talks about what it was like learning to film in a hospital, in the midst of a revolution, as well as exploring what compelled her to capture the smaller, more intimate moments of family life with her husband Hamza, and her daughter Sama.

We also discuss how long it takes to edit down 500+ hours of footage, and what fuels her continued desire to raise awareness of the issues in Syria.