Waad al-Kateab was a student in 2011 when the civil war in Syria started and she became an activist and citizen journalist reporting for international media. For Sama is a video diary, told in a first-person voice, addressed to al-Kateab’s infant daughter that documents five years of Waad’s life, as she falls in love, gets married and has a child, while the traumatic effects of the conflict make life unliveable for everyone around her. Struggling between her desire to fight for her ideals and the safety of her family, Waad and her husband eventually decide to flee the conflict-ridden zone. What results is a powerful statement from a young filmmaker, whose simple act of witnessing transforms the humanitarian crisis into one of the most compelling documentaries on the subject.
Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts • Great Britain • 2019 • 99′
“Sama, I’ve made this film for you. I need you to understand what we were fighting for. I know you understand what’s happening. I can see it in your eyes. You never cry like a normal baby would. That’s what breaks my heart.” (Waad al-Kateab, the director)
Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
In January 2016 Waad started documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News, her reports quickly becoming the most watched pieces on the programme. They earned her the 2016 International Emmy for breaking news coverage. She now lives in London with her husband and two daughters.
Edward is an Emmy award-winning, BAFTA-nominated filmmaker who has directed over twenty films. His most famous film is perhaps Escape from ISIS, which exposed the brutal treatment of the estimated 4-million women living under the rule of the Islamic State.
15.10.2019 – 16:00 Gong
19.10.2019 – 11:00 Gong
After decades of domestic abuse Fiorella decides to separate from her husband of 40 years. Valentina, the couple’s youngest daughter, returns home to document her bid for freedom and capture her family’s reaction to her decision. However, Fiorella struggles with her decision, being hesitant to abandon her life’s work – the family residence – which in some ways becomes synonymous with her identity. What results is a poignant, personal and intimate debut documentary, in which Valentina is her mother’s ally, in an area where the parochial ways dictate that domestic violence is still tolerated. Moving beyond the personal story this becomes a relevant and timely video essay on family, communities and patriarchal societies. Valentina Primavera • Italia • 2019 • 80′
Former child bride Laila Haidari, who had witnessed her brother’s long battle with drug addiction, devotes her life to helping the men and women in Kabul struggling with one of the deadliest problems in Afghanistan: heroin addiction. Determined and courageous, Laila takes initiative and fights to pull as many of the city’s addicts from their seedy environments and bring them to the treatment centre that she runs together with her brother. As financial aid dries up after the departure of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, leaving behind a corrupt government and a chaotic society, the centre survives through funds generated by a local restaurant that she runs, where the waiters are recovering drug addicts. Laila’s efforts are presented directly, as an observational documentary, with the camera unobtrusively following her on her journey to save some of these men and women. Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei • Canada • 2018 • 97′
Doris, a young Wayuu woman, has a dream about her late cousin and decides to exhume her remains in order meet her one last time before saying goodbye. Set in the Columbian La Guajira desert, the documentary by the filmmaking duo of Juan Pablo Polanco and César Alejandro Jaimes is a mystical journey through some of the rituals of the indigenous community as we follow Doris on her expedition to complete her people’s ancient ritual of reburial. Through a supernatural lens, the film constructs a hypnotic image that is heightened by the acoustic detachment that accompanies it, as it moves between life and death, reality and dreams.
César Jaimes, Juan Pablo Polanco • Colombia • 2019 • 75′