*HBO is premiering three short films on the West African Ebola pandemic that flared in 2015 and has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
“Ebola: The Doctors’ Story,” “Body Team 12” (Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Short) and “Orphans of Ebola” debut back-to-back tonight (March 14) from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
The films approach the subject from different perspectives, following the doctors, the response teams and the children left orphaned by the deadly disease. The trilogy spans an eight month time period, from the outbreak’s rapid escalation, through the height of the epidemic, to its waning.
Watch a trailer of all three films below:
Steven Grandison’s EBOLA: THE DOCTORS’ STORY joins Dr. Javid Abdelmoneim, a British emergency response doctor, inside a Doctors Without Borders Ebola treatment center in Kalilahun, Sierra Leone as the epidemic escalates dramatically in fall 2014. Attached to the doctors’ goggles, cameras designed to enter the “hot zone” of the facility reveal for the first time the realities of battling an unprecedented outbreak. Dr. Abdelmoneim, along with local and international colleagues, fights for the survival of his patients, and helps families reunite or cope with overwhelming loss.
BODY TEAM 12 highlights the heroic and heartbreaking work of Garmai Sumo, a female Liberian Red Cross worker tasked with collecting the dead from homes and villages, and removing the bodies to halt transmission of the disease. In a tightrope act of high-risk filmmaking, director-journalist David Darg embedded with the Red Cross on the ground in Monrovia, Liberia, during the height of the outbreak.
Darg’s poignant images recount the Ebola crisis through the story of Sumo, the sole female member of the body collection team, who reflects on the cultural and social upheavals caused by the disease, as well as her resolve to fight for her country’s future. Edited by Darg while he was in full quarantine for three weeks, the film was executive produced by philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen as part of his commitment to combat the Ebola crisis in West Africa and co-executive produced by actress Olivia Wilde (HBO’s “Vinyl”).
Ben Steele’s ORPHANS OF EBOLA follows Abu, a 12-year-old boy from a Sierra Leone village, who loses eight members of his family and must restart his life elsewhere. Filmed over a period of four months, beginning just after the height of the epidemic in Dec. 2014 through the reopening of the country’s schools in April 2015, Abu’s story illustrates the incredible bravery of the thousands of children who have been orphaned by Ebola as they reconcile with the past and forge new lives.