Ebola Trilogy of "The Doctor's Story," "Body Team 12" & "Orphans of Ebola" Premieres Monday, March 14 at 9:00 – 10:30 PM ET/PT on HBO
One of the biggest news stories of 2015 was the West African Ebola pandemic that claimed tens of thousands of lives. These HBO Documentary Films presentations approach the subject from different perspectives, following the doctors, the response teams and the children left orphaned by this devastating disease. The trilogy paints a picture of the Ebola crisis over a period of eight months, from the outbreak’s rapid escalation, through the height of the epidemic, to its waning. Ranging from international response teams, to local citizen-responders, to ordinary families, the documentaries highlight the urgent need to treat the sick, the grim and dangerous collection of the dead, and the aftermath of survivors picking up the pieces.
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. The unprecedented Ebola crisis – and the responses to it – have left a legacy for
generations to come, even as the outbreak is officially declared “over.”