Documentary Filmmaking Abroad with Edward Watts & Waad Al-Kateab

If you were subjected to daily bombardment from the air, you were entrenched in a make-shift hospital, and you’d just recently had a baby, would you still be able to pick up your camera and film events? Well, if you’re Syrian doc filmmaker, Waad Al-Kateab, you would. And she did, while living in the basement of a hospital, with her husband and baby in the besieged city of Aleppo.

Eventually, she would be forced to leave her homeland behind, and headed to England to meet up with fellow conflict zone filmmaker, Edward Watts. The two poured over her twelve hard drives of footage, and the resulting documentary film – quite possibly the most talked about documentary of 2019 – For Sama, was made.

And speaking of documentary filmmaking abroad, not surprisingly, our resident doc filmmaker and podcast host, has a few things to say on the subject as well! Whether you are on your own or with your family, there are going to be a number of important items that you must consider before documentary filmmaking overseas.  In our first segment, Chris draws from his own experiences documentary filmmaking abroad and comes up with 5 Tips for Doc Filmmaking Abroad with Your Family.


Topics Discussed

  • filmmaking while under siege
  • filmmaker, Waad Al-Kateab’s conscious decision to bring her own thoughts & emotions to her filmmaking process and to her film
  • how Al-Kateab risked her life to transport 12 hard drives out of Syria to meet up with fellow doc filmmaker, Edward Watts
  • Watts’ belief that sometimes the filmmaker must choose a subjective approach in their docs when it’s for the benefit of humanity
  • tips for documentary filmmaking abroad with Chris G. Parkhurst


Additional Resources


Sponsors & Thank Yous


° Free Music ArchiveSpecial Thank You to recording artist, Dlay who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to Free Music Archive today!


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Host and TDL Founder, Chris G Parkhurst

Chris is a documentary filmmaker and the founder and host of The Documentary Life, a platform which aims to inform and inspire documentary filmmakers from around the globe.

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