Waad Al Kateab/For Sama

Waad Al Kateab/For Sama

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Waad al-Kateab (Director / Producer / Cinematographer)

In January 2016 Waad al-Kateab started documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News in a series of devastating films simply titled Inside Aleppo.

The reports she made for Channel 4 News on the conflict in Syria, and the most complex humanitarian crisis in the world, became the most watched pieces on the UK news programme – and received almost half a billion views online and won 24 awards – including the 2016 International Emmy for breaking news coverage.

Waad was a marketing student at the University of Aleppo when protests against the Assad regime swept the country in 2011. Like many hundreds of her fellow Syrians, she became a citizen journalist determined to document the horrors of the war.

She taught herself how to film – and started filming the human suffering around her as Assad forces battled rebels for control of Aleppo. She stayed through the devastating siege – documenting the terrible loss of life and producing some of the most memorable images of the six-year conflict. When she and her family were evacuated from Aleppo in December 2016 she managed to get all her footage out.

Waad lives in London with her husband Hamza and two daughters.

Edward Watts (Director)

Edward Watts is an Emmy award-winning, BAFTA nominated filmmaker who has directed over twenty narrative and documentary films that tell true stories of courage, heroism and humour from across the world, covering everything from war crimes in the Congo to the colourful lives of residents in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

His 2015 film Escape from ISIS exposed the brutal treatment of the estimated 4 million women living under the rule of the Islamic State and, for the first time on television, told the extraordinary story of an underground network trying to save those it can. It received numerous international awards and citations, including an International Emmy and Bafta nomination for Best Current Affairs Documentary.

The Guardian described it as “a breathtakingly bold piece of journalism,” while the Spectator said it was “such an important documentary it ought to rank with the footage of British troops liberating Belsen”. Prime Minister David Cameron cited the film in a major policy speech on ISIS. Edward was also invited to testify at the US Congress about the film’s key findings at the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Washington DC in July 2015.

Among his other work, his first narrative short film Oksijan told the incredible true story of a 7- year-old Afghan boy’s fight to survive as he is smuggled to the UK in a refrigerated lorry and the

air inside begins to run out. It premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017 and has since played at prestigious film festivals around the world.

Edward's filmmaking aspires to tell visceral, gripping stories about people who live in far flung corners of the world, to emphasise our common humanity to audiences back home. In so doing, he hopes his films can make a positive contribution to reducing the hatred in our tumultuous world. He has an eye for the unexpected: the intimacy found even in the bleakest places; the stories of hope amid horror. He creates films on a strong foundation of riveting narrative storytelling and striking, cinematic images.

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