In The Cave, director Ferras Fayad returns to his native, war-torn Syria to follow a dedicated team of female doctors who tirelessly treat casualties in an underground hospital, all the time battling systemic sexism. In 2019 Fayyad, whose US visa application has been turned down, was nominated in the Academy Award Documentary Feature category for Last Men in Aleppo.
For Sama (Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts) is dedicated to Waad’s newborn daughter. With a simple digital camera, she documents the Syrian uprising against Assad in the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, from the beginning to the forced evacuation at the end of 2016.
In Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov) the last female wild bee-keeper in Europe must save the bees and restore natural balance after a family of nomadic beekeepers invade her land and threaten her livelihood.
Petra Costa’s The Edge of Democracy and American Factory (Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert) complete the short list.
Meanwhile, Honeyland is shortlisted in the Best International Feature category. The film won three prizes in Sundance and has now played at around 40 festivals around the world. It was a huge hit in Northern Macedonia itself, a country where docs have little history of attracting cinema audiences.
“This film changed the way people in (North Macedonia) approached documentary. It was huge hit in every small village in the country,” co-director Kotevsla told Business Doc Europe in November 2019.
For Sama and American Factory will also compete in the Best Doc category at the 2020 Baftas.