color, 84 min, 2018
English, Krio, Temne and Mende
with English subtitles
Available on DSL and DVD: https://store.der.org/survivors-p1020.aspx
Survivors chronicles the remarkable stories of three Sierra Leoneans during what is now widely regarded as the most acute public health crisis of the modern era – the Ebola epidemic. Through a unique community filmmaking initiative, the film shares the bravery and humanity of the individuals fighting to support those most severely affected by the crisis.
Arthur Pratt, a Sierra Leonean filmmaker and pastor, leads the film’s narrative while working on the frontlines of the Ebola crisis. The film also shares the perspectives of Mohamed Bangura, the senior driver at the country’s main ambulance dispatch; of Foday Koroma, a 12-year-old boy living on the streets in Freetown; and of Margaret Sesay, a nurse at the EMERGENCY Ebola treatment center who cares for some of the sickest patients impacted by the disease.
Survivors explores how the epidemic ravaged families and communities, reveals the misunderstandings between international NGOs and Sierra Leoneans, and unearths political tensions that still linger from a decade-long Civil War. In this, the film wrestles with ideas of national identity and international aid while still foregrounding the incredible work and compassion of Sierra-Leoneans throughout the darkest days of the outbreak.
“With unflinching intimacy, Survivors places us in the midst of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Chronicling the unfolding bravery, bureaucratic blunder and deep humanity of an African community under siege, these Sierra Leonean filmmakers see their world with the clarity and empathy possessed only by extraordinary storytellers. It is a remarkable film.”
— Robb Moss, Filmmaker & Chair, Department of Visual & Environmental Studies, Harvard University
“Survivors is a breakthrough piece of filmmaking in its realization of a deeply felt and closely documented experience of health care workers in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic. Sierra Leoneans emerge as reflective commentators on their experience of this terrible disease, displaying a quiet heroism and love not often noted in myriad representations of Africa. Survivors also stands out also because of its very production process and values. Sierra Leonean director, Arthur Pratt, made the film in Freetown working in collaboration with partners in the US. Survivors makes one proud to be human and grateful for the chance to meet Mohamed and Margaret who stepped up and saved their world.”
— Pamela Scully, Professor of African History and Women’s Studies, Emory University
“These videos from WeOwnTV are actually making a difference. They are changing the way people are educated and this changes how they respond towards Ebola. Attitudes are changing. People are not denying it anymore and behaviors are changing towards the issues.”
— Michael Ibrahim Kargbo, Head of TV at Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation
“LEST WE FORGET! Our children and our grandchildren need to remember what happened during the Ebola crisis. We can never forget our history. We need to learn from it and to always be in prayer and to take actions that will ensure the safety and health of our people. I want to express my sincere gratitude to these filmmakers, for their efforts and their noble goals with this project. ”
— Rev. Canon Dr. J.E. Modupe Taylor Pearce, Pro Chancellor of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone
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