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. Our guide in the film is Arthur Pratt, a Sierra Leonean filmmaker and pastor. Arthur’s unique access, narrative voice, and observational documentary coverage of the outbreak becomes a prism for understanding both the political and personal significance of the health catastrophe.
Survivors 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 it also reveals 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.