Through the eyes of Sierra Leonean filmmakers, Survivors presents a heart-connected portrait of their country during the Ebola outbreak, exposing the complexity of the epidemic and the socio-political turmoil that lies in its wake.
The film interweaves the heroic stories of Mohamed Bangura, the senior ambulance driver at the country’s main ambulance dispatch location and Margaret Sesay, a nurse who works at the EMERGENCY Ebola treatment center in Freetown caring for some of the sickest patients. Through intimate verite footage of these characters’ daily lives, the film not only explores how the epidemic ravaged families and communities, but also exposed broken infrastructures, deep misunderstandings between international aid organizations and the communities they serve, as well as unresolved political tensions after 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.
About the Filmmakers
Arthur Pratt, (Producer/Co-Director) is a Sierra Leonean filmmaker and community leader based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Arthur is a co-founder of the Sierra Leone Film Council, the country’s first media-makers union. He has started and leads multiple community film and theater groups, collaboratively writing and performing numerous films and plays with ex-combatants, former child prostitutes and community members. He is a co-founder and manager of the WeOwnTV Freetown Media Center in Sierra Leone, with numerous credits and awards for the films and plays he has produced. Film credits include; CHARITY 2010 (Writer/Director), which received festival awards at the Pan African Film Festival Los Angeles, Cinema by the Bay San Francisco, Semana del Cine Experimental de Madrid, Spain. Black Sugar 2011 (Director, Writer and Camera), They Resisted 2011 (Director/Writer), Hustler 2011 (Director, Writer and Camera), Gift of My Eyes 2012 (Filmed and Editor), M'Pora 2012 (Camera and Editor)
Banker White is the director/producer of the award-winning documentary, The Genius of Marian. The film premiered at the Tribeca film festival and was broadcast on PBS's award winning series POV in September 2014. The film also received support from the Sundance Documentary Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tribeca Film Institute, Impact Partners, LEF, Britdoc, the Catapult Film Fund and The Fledgling Fund. Banker also directed Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars(POV 2007). The film was nominated by the IDA for best feature in 2006; won grand jury awards at AFI Fest, Full Frame Film Festival and Human Rights Watch FilmFestival; and earned audience awards at SXSW and Miami International Film Festival. It was broadcast on POV in North America, HBO Latin America and NHK in Japan among others. Banker also founded the WeOwnTV Freetown Media Center, a collaborative filmmaking and storytelling film in Sierra Leone, which is supported by Creative Capital, Freedom to Create, The Bertha Foundation, BAVC, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and Global Giving.
Anna Fitch is an Emmy award-winning director. Her natural history and science documentaries have aired on the National Geographic Channel, Channel 4 UK, and PBS. Awards, nominations and festivals include: BugWorld: War of Two Worlds (2003), Emmy Award in Best Documentary Directing, Delegates Choice Award –Wildscreen, and Best Science and Natural History Program finalist - Banff Television Festival. She co-directed the feature documentary the Genius of Marian (2013), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast on POV in September 2014. The film also received support from the Sundance Documentary Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tribeca Film Institute, Impact Partners, LEF, Britdoc, the Catapult Film Fund and The Fledgling Fund. Her narrative short, The Burning Wigs of Sedition (2010), was in competition at many festivals including the Seattle International Film Festival, SFFS’s Cinema by the Bay, Revelation Film Festival Perth and Rooftop Films NYC. It also won the Best ofFestival prize at the Black Maria Film Festival the Audience Award at SF IndieFest.
Lansana Mansaray aka Barmmy Boy is a multi-talented director of photography, filmmaker and musician who lives in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He is a founding member and the current production manager at the WeOwnTV Freetown Media Center. He has been honored by theBritish Council on numerous occasions and has been selected to travel abroad representing the creative youth of Sierra Leone to London, Hull, Copenhagen, Abidjan and Accra. Film Credits include YOUTH, (Director/2010), CHARITY 2010 (Camera), They Resisted 2011 (Director of Photography) and Disability is Inability (Director of Photography, in production). He has worked as a cameraman and fixer on many award-wining international productions including Decisions (2011), Girl Rising (2013) They Are We (2014) and the Emmy award winning, Meet the Africans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013).