Joshua Baker

Return From ISIS: A Family’s Story
Commissioned by BBC & Frontline

A brilliant piece of work that worked on so many levels other than just exposition. Very well researched, it persisted in going back and sticking to the story, reviewing and examining it from different angles.  Well-shot, structured and researched, and an extraordinary piece of work to get on air. The commitment to the story and investment in the journalism was remarkable.”

-Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs Jury

The extraordinary story of one family’s journey from a small town in America to the heart of ISIS and back. Filmed over four years, journalist Joshua Baker investigated the story of Sam Sally. After arriving in Syria, her husband became an ISIS sniper and her young son Matthew was forced to take part in an infamous propaganda video. Sam says she was tricked into going, but what is the truth?

Baker gained unique access to ISIS members, military sources, Matthew’s family, neighbors in ISIS-controlled Raqqa, two girls, and a young boy held by the family as slaves. He worked hard to keep the investigation going over the years, often coordinating with contributors across multiple time zones.


Joshua Baker works in a highly versatile way, often working as director, producer and cinematographer simultaneously. He combines journalistic rigour with a cinematic sensibility to create films that are both accessible and in-depth and has a track record for working with highly sensitive sources and securing specialist access with contributors that lasts for years. As well as working in the UK, he has worked substantially in hostile environments around the world. His films have been nominated for many awards, including Grierson Awards, One World Media Awards and Best News and Current Affairs Programme at the Broadcast Awards in 2019.