Each year the Academy Awards brings movie watchers a carefully cultivated list of must-watch films. This year, however, a nominee for Best Documentary Feature stands out as a unique and extraordinary documentation of the Syrian civil war. While For Sama unfolds as a mother's love letter to her daughter, it offers viewers a remarkable look into the female experience of war. And luckily, you don't have to wait for the documentary to come to a theater near you as there's an incredibly easy way to watch For Sama online right now.
While For Sama is undoubtedly an intimate look at life inside an ongoing crisis that has seen millions displaced, it's more than just another Syrian civil war documentary. In For Sama, Waad al-Kateab documents five years of violent conflict in Aleppo, Syria, and how, despite it, her life continues to unfold. As a deadly civil war rages on around her, al-Kateab falls in love, gets married, has a baby, and grapples with choosing between fighting for the city and country she loves and saying goodbye.
Ultimately, al-Kateab has said For Sama is exactly what it's name suggests — a love letter for her daughter and all the children of Syria. "Sama, I've made this film for you. I need you to understand what we were fighting for," al-Kateab said at one point in the film. "What a life I’ve brought you into. You didn't choose this. Will you ever forgive me?"
Aside from being an Oscar nominee, the film has won and been nominated for a number of awards across the world. It won the Prix L’Œil d’Or for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival. It won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at last year's SXSW Film Festival. It won the Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary at Hot Docs. Most recently, it received a record-breaking number of nominations for a documentary film at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).