Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 June 2020

Syrian documentary 'For Sama' scores nod in Peabody Award nominations

Waad Al Kateab and Edward Watts’s heartbreaking film, shot in Aleppo, is up for Best Documentary

Waad al-Kateab films the ruins of a building destroyed by bombing in besieged east Aleppo in the documentary 'For Sama'. AP
Waad al-Kateab films the ruins of a building destroyed by bombing in besieged east Aleppo in the documentary 'For Sama'. AP

It may have missed out on winning Best Documentary Feature at this year's Oscars, but the awards run for one Syrian film may not be over.

For Sama, the heart-rending documentary by Waad Al Kateab and Edward Watts, is nominated at this year's Peabody Awards.

The annual prizes shine a light on some of the most compelling stories told on television, radio and online media, with 60 nominees acknowledged for the 2020 awards.

In an announcement made on Wednesday, May 6, For Sama was listed among the 20 nominees for Best Documentary, alongside the likes of Apollo 11, a film about the 1969 space mission, and Leaving Neverland, the HBO film that re-examines allegations of sexual abuse against Michael Jackson.

For Sama was filmed inside besieged Aleppo over five years, and gives a first-hand account of war from the perspective of a new mother. It won the Best Documentary Bafta at the British ceremony earlier this year, and the Prix L’Oeil d’Or for Best Documentary at Cannes Film Festival in 2019.

The film, to Al Kateab, is “for all the ­people I lost, for all the people killed in Aleppo, and in all other places after us and before us. For me, it’s very important to say: ‘This is what happened,’” she told The National last year. “I feel a lot of guilt that I am out and I cannot do anything for these people. So, maybe, with this film, I can go to the people, let them watch it, and maybe something will change.”

Also nominated in the Peabody Awards' category for Best Documentary is Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), Carol Dysinger’s short film about young Afghan girls learning to read, write and skateboard in Kabul.

In the Entertainment section, meanwhile, Ramy Youssef's semi-autobiographical comedy show Ramy has scored a nod, alongside series such as Fleabag, Good Omens and Stranger Things.

The Egyptian-American star won Best Actor in a Television Series at the Golden Globes back in January for his performance in the show, in which he plays a Muslim man grappling with his background and faith in the US.

The Peabody Awards, named after US businessman and philanthropist George Peabody, will name 30 winners on an unconfirmed later date.

“Peabody is proud to champion this year’s nominees who inspire our connection, provoke our thinking and delight our senses,” said Jeffrey P Jones, executive director of Peabody. “Amidst the challenges of our present moment, we can find empathy, entertainment and truth in these nominees.”

Updated: May 7, 2020 05:37 PM

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