Once again, the story of Syrian filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab, For Sama has made the region proud by making its way to the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, more commonly known as the BAFTAs. The war documentary which tells the heart-rending story of a mother during the revolution in Aleppo, Syria has received four nominations. This makes For Sama BAFTA’s most-nominated feature documentary in history.
The four categories in which the documentary has been nominated are Film Not in English Language, Outstanding British Film, Outstanding Debut, and Best Documentary. Previously, the documentary had been recognized at the International Documentary Association Awards, the British Independent Film Awards, Cannes Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival, Emmy Awards and had been nominated for the 2020 Academy Awards in the Best Documentary Feature category.
Chronicling her experiences in her war-torn hometown of Aleppo, Al-Kateab began filming clips and videos on her phone at first, in which she captured stories of suffering, survival, and fleeting moments of joy. The film, however, is essentially a love letter from a mother to daughter as it charts Al-Kateab’s life over the span of five years through marriage, giving birth to Sama and later making the harrowing decision of whether she should flee Aleppo for their safety or stay back and fight for the freedom of her nation.
Although the Syrian documentary has earned an iconic number of nominations, the same can’t be said for other films starring non-Caucasian actors. The announcement of the nominations for this year’s BAFTAs made yesterday sparked a heated debate about the lack of diversity among the nominees. Members of the BAFTA committee too voiced their frustration over the results of this year’s vote. “Infuriating lack of diversity in the acting noms,” chairman Marc Samuelson told Variety. “It’s just a frustration that the industry is not moving as fast as certainly the whole BAFTA team would like it to be.”