Waad al-Kateab is a Syrian activist and award-winning filmmaker. She became a citizen journalist in 2011, after protests broke out across Syria against the Assad regime, and in January 2016 she began documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News in a series that received an International Emmy for breaking news coverage.
Waad’s first feature documentary, For Sama, documented her life over five years in Aleppo, combining a firsthand witness account of the appalling atrocities in Aleppo with an intimate human insight into the everyday existence of her family against the backdrop of the Syrian civil war. Waad was eventually forced to flee, reaching Turkey before seeking asylum in the UK where she now resides with her husband and their two daughters.
The film, directed with Edward Watts, received worldwide critical acclaim, winning numerous awards, including the Prix L’Œil d’or for best documentary at Cannes Film Festival, Best Documentary at the BAFTAs and a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards. Waad has also received several personal recognitions for her work as an activist and filmmaker, including the IDA Courage Under Fire Award and a place in the 2020 Time 100 List of Most Influential People.
Waad continues to work with Channel 4 News, is a mentor for the Marie Colvin Journalist Network and the International Center for Journalists, and dedicates time to her advocacy campaign, Action For Sama, to end the targeting of healthcare facilities in Syria. It’s currently building a case against the Syrian regime and Russia for alleged war crimes – For Sama footage will be used as evidence.
- The 100 Most Influential People of 2020, Time Magazine, September 22, 2020.
- ‘We Are Left to Face Death Alone’, The New York Times, February 7, 2020.
- ‘My daughter was raised during the siege of Aleppo. I had to make a film for her’, The Guardian, August 25, 2019