Directed by Arthur Pratt, 87 mins
Sunday 28 June, 19:00 BST plus 40-minute panel discussion
Survivors chronicles the remarkable stories of three Sierra Leoneans during what was - until Covid-19 - widely regarded as the most acute public health crisis of the modern era. Our guide in the film is Arthur Pratt, a Sierra Leonean filmmaker and pastor. Drawing from deeply personal stories at the epicenter of the epidemic, the film boldly shares the individual bravery and humanity of the people caught in an unfolding crisis. Director Arthur Pratt’s unique access, narrative voice, and observational documentary coverage of the outbreak becomes a prism for understanding both the social and the political significance of the health catastrophe.
Survivors interweaves the stories of Mohamed Bangura, the senior ambulance driver at the country's main ambulance dispatch location; of Foday Koroma, a 12-year-old boy living on the streets in one of Freetown’s slum neighborhoods; and of Margaret Sesay, a nurse at the EMERGENCY Ebola treatment center in Freetown who cares for some of the sickest patients. The film follows the stories of these characters from the earliest days of the epidemic all the way through to the end, when the World Health Organization declares that Ebola has been eradicated in Sierra Leone. Through intimate verite footage of these characters’ daily lives, the film not only explores how the epidemic ravaged families and communities, but it also reveals the deep misunderstandings that exist between international NGOs and the communities they serve, while also unearthing the simmering political tensions that still linger from the decade-long Civil War. In this way, Survivors profoundly wrestles with what it means to be Sierra Leonean at this critical juncture in the country’s history.
The film screening will be followed by a 40-minute panel discussion, moderated by Dr Rebecca Inglis, who will be joining in the early hours of the morning from Laos.
Rebecca is an intensive care doctor researching ways to improve the care of critically ill patients in low resource settings. She worked in an Ebola Treatment Centre in Port Loko during the Ebola outbreak in 2015 and has spent the past three years studying for a DPhil in Laos with the Oxford Tropical Medicine Network; she is currently working with the WHO and the Laos Ministry of Health to support the COVID-19 emergency response.
Co-directors Arthur Pratt and Banker White will join us from Freetown and California respectively to discuss the multifaceted nature of the Ebola outbreak response. In addition to making Survivors, the film collective worked across the spectrum of outbreak-related education and engagement activities and made a significant contribution to the nationwide response, from reporting as journalists to coordinating with public health agencies on effective messaging. They are similarly engaged in the Covid-19 response in Sierra Leone today and will share their insights on this.