THE CAVE and FOR SAMA – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Two intimate documentaries from inside the Syrian civil war, diaries of women who stayed to fight for their nation and help their people, pay tribute to human perseverance and chide Western apathy. In The Cave, we meet Syrian doctor Amani Ballour, a hero(ine) for our times. For Sama is a heartbreaking testimony of a patriot defending her nation.

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HEARTLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ROUND UP – Laura Emerick reports

To stand out among the many regional film festivals nationwide, Heartland has created its own special niche by focusing on movies that convey the transformative power of cinema. Witness its mission statement: “The films we select and exhibit — whether they inspire and uplift, educate and inform, or shift audiences’ perspectives on the world — all have one thing in common: they are story-driven films that do more than entertain.”

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Waad al-Khateab, Hamza al-Khateab, Edward Watts Talk FOR SAMA – Sarah Knight Adamson interviews

For Sama has been championed as, “One of the most important films you’ll ever see in your life.” At the age of 21, Wadd al-Khateab, a college student in Aleppo, began filming the uprising in Syria. She continued filming for five years, capturing over 500 hours of film. “For Sama” is a love letter to her daughter Sama, a record of war conditions that presents Waad and husband Dr. Hamza al-Khateab’s reasons for staying in Aleppo until the end. Sarah Knight Adamson interviews Waad, Hamza and co-director Edward Watts about For Sama.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 26, 2019: FOR SAMA

Raw, intimate, and devastating, Waad Al-Khateab’s documentary For Sama is a powerful story of what it was like to live in Aleppo during several years of Syria’s destructive civil war. Co-directed by Edward Watts, the film explores the human consequences and casualties of battle, while simultaneously proving that life can continue — and even flourish — in even the most hellish circumstances.

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FOR SAMA – Review by Loren King

“We never thought the world would let this happen.” That’s the haunting phrase from 26-year old filmmaker and activist Waad al-Kateab, who chronicles her life during the five years that her beloved city of Aleppo, Syria was destroyed by the corrupt government of Bashar al-Assad. If not turning away is how we must confront the violence, inhumanity and senselessness of war, this brutal, heart-wrenching film is essential viewing.

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FOR SAMA – Review by Susan Wlosczcyna

Never mind all those so-called superheroes that have dominated movie screens for the past two decades. Now is not the time for escapist fantasies. For Sama is the reality wake-up call we as a country desperately need right now, one that shows what happens to a society when corruption, injustice and oppression goes unchecked.

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FOR SAMA – Review by Jennifer Merin

For Sama is a harrowing first person documentary in which the filmmaker, Waad Al-Khateab, a Syrian woman journalist, chronicles her daily life and struggles to survive during the Battle of Aleppo. Waad states that she is making the film for her daughter, Sama, who was conceived and born during the five-year siege that devastated her home town. The film is intended, she says, to let Sama know who her parents were, what they believed in and why they joined the rebels who were fighting for freedom from the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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FOR SAMA – Review by Sheila Roberts

Told from a female perspective, Waad’s intimate and compelling video diary, “For Sama,” is intended as a love letter to her young daughter, Sama. It offers a rare look at Waad’s life during five years of uprising in Aleppo as old lives are swept away and a rebellion once portrayed as a civil war evolves into a Western-backed regime change operation. Waad falls in love, marries a doctor who is also a media activist, and gives birth to Sama amidst an escalating conflict which she documents daily with her camera. Clearly, this is no place to raise a child.

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