Waad Al-Kateab

Waad Al-Kateab (Arabic: وعد الخطيب‎;[2] born c. 1991) is the pseudonym of a Syrian journalist, filmmaker, and activist. Her documentary, For Sama (2019),[3] was nominated for four BAFTAs at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, winning for Best Documentary,[4] and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards.[5] Her coverage of the Battle for Aleppo won an International Emmy Award for Current Affairs & News| for Channel 4 News.[6] The pseudonymous surname Al-Kateab is used to protect her family.[7]

Waad Al-Kateab
Born1991 (age 28–29)[1]
OccupationJournalist, filmmaker
Years active2011–current
EmployerChannel 4
Known forFor Sama (2019)
Hamza Al-Kateab (m. 2014)


In 2009, 18-year-old Al-Kateab moved to Aleppo to study economics at the University of Aleppo.[1] In 2011, when the Syrian Civil War broke out, she began reporting on the war for Channel 4 News in the United Kingdom.[8] She elected to stay and document her life over five years in Aleppo as she falls in love with Hamza – her friend-turned-husband, a doctor – and gives birth to their first daughter, Sama ("Sky") in 2015, which became the basis of For Sama. For covering the Siege of Aleppo, she won an International Emmy for her reporting, the first Syrian to do so. For Sama, directed with Edward Watts, won the Prix L'Œil d'or for best documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival,[9] receiving a six-minute standing ovation.[10] At the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, For Sama became the most nominated documentary in the history of the British Academy Film Awards with four nominations, winning for Best Documentary.[11][12]

After fleeing Aleppo in December 2016, Al-Kateab, her husband, and their two daughters reside in the United Kingdom.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Waad al-Kateab a filmé tout ce qu'elle a vu à Alep depuis 2011". Slate.fr (in French). 9 October 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  2. ^ Fahmy, Hussam (26 May 2019). "وعد الخطيب.. سورية تخطف "العين الذهبية" في "كان" 2019". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b Stanford, Eleanor (20 November 2019). "After 'For Sama,' a Syrian Family Finds Refuge in London". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  4. ^ "2020 EE British Academy Film Awards: The Winners". BAFTA. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  5. ^ Husted, Anne (13 January 2020). "For Sama Receives Academy Award® Nomination for Best Documentary Feature". FRONTLINE. PBS. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Channel 4 News wins International Emmy for News". Channel 4 News. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  7. ^ Kellaway, Kate (25 August 2019). "'My daughter was raised during the siege of Aleppo. I had to make a film for her'". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Waad al-Kateab". Mountainfilm. 9 May 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  9. ^ McCaughey, Mary (6 September 2019). "Syrian film-maker Waad al-Kateab on why she chose to remain fighting". Financial Times. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Waad al-Kateab, réalisatrice rescapée d'Alep : "J'apportais la vie là où seule la mort était semée"". Madame Figaro. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Syrian war film For Sama becomes most nominated documentary in Bafta history". Esquire Middle East. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  12. ^ "2020 EE British Academy Film Awards: The Winners". BAFTA. Retrieved 2 February 2020.

External linksEdit