In the Shadow of Ebola is an intimate story of a family and a nation struggling against the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. We follow a Liberian student and his family living divided between the United States and Liberia. As the crisis unfolds, loved ones are isolated in Monrovia where the government is shut down, schools and markets are closed, and food prices are rising.
Liberians find themselves fighting an invisible war that is painfully reminiscent of the chaos and confusion of the fourteen-year Liberian civil war, which ended a mere decade ago. When the Liberian government responds to the crisis initially with military-enforced quarantines and curfews, mistrust and anger among Monrovia’s residents grow.
As the death toll from Ebola climbs, and a quarantine results in the shooting and death of a 15-year old boy, mistrust and disbelief are replaced by compassion and inner resolve to combat the spread of the virus. With international aid slow to arrive, Liberians turn to each other for help, as healthcare workers, musicians, and artists join forces on the front lines in public health education campaigns. The steps toward community empowerment and action help to build trust and stabilize the number of new Ebola cases. But the ripple effects—food insecurity, overwhelmed medical infrastructure, and economic isolation—endure.
Gregg Mitman - Producer/Director
Gregg Mitman is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher whose scholarship explores the changing relationships between people and environments over time. Trained in ecology, environmental history, and the history of science and medicine, Mitman holds a distinguished research chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work on the history of Firestone and biomedical research in Liberia offers an informed perspective on the Ebola crisis that has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine and on public radio. Mitman is founder and director of Madison’s popular environmental film festival, Tales from Planet Earth, and has taught environmental film production with award-winning filmmakers including Judith Helfand, Alex Rivera, and Sarita Siegel. Mitman was Executive Producer on Fire Burn Babylon, which won the Audience Award for Best Documentary, Freestyle Life Film Festival 2012; Bronze Palm Award, Mexico International Film Festival 2010; and Honorable Mention at the COMMFFEST MADA Awards, Toronto 2011. The trailer for Mitman’s new film A Film Never Made won the 2014 International FOCAL Award for the best use of archival in a short production.
Sarita Siegel - Producer/Director/Cinematographer
With an educational background in physical anthropology and religion, Sarita Siegel gravitates to stories that lie at the intersection of cultural worlds. Siegel established Alchemy Films with Taggart Siegel in San Francisco in 1994. She wrote, produced, and directed Destroying Angel (1995) and The Beloved (1997). In 2002, she co-produced The Split Horn, a one-hour special for PBS, and wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning The Disenchanted Forest for National Geographic. Siegel was associate producer for The Real Dirt on Farmer John (Independent Lens, 2006) and produced, directed, filmed, and edited Fire Burn Babylon, which won the Audience Award for Best Documentary, Freestyle Life Film Festival 2012; Bronze Palm Award, Mexico International Film Festival 2010; and an honorable mention at the COMMFEST MADA Awards, Toronto. Siegel is directing and producing A Film Never Made, and Outspoken, a documentary that highlights conscious MCs from around the globe who use rap poetry to fiercely defend political freedoms and human rights.
Alexander Wiaplah (Ush) - Cinematographer
Alexander Wiaplah (Ush) worked as the production manager for Liberia Broadcasting System National Television Station, the state broadcaster of Liberia, which was closed for 15 years during Liberia’s civil war. Over the last six years, Alex has been working on a series of international and national projects, which include documentaries, television shows, and music videos. Over the past two years, he has been camera operator and cinematographer on film shoots in Liberia for A Film Never Made. Alex is one of the founders and CEOs of Kreative Mindz Studio, where he has also worked as a cameraman, producer, director and an editor. In addition, he has worked for some of the top broadcast stations worldwide, including CNN, NBC News, ARD TV, and ITN Channel 4.
Prakash Bestman (Pochano) - Composer
Prakash Bestman (Pochano) is a music producer/rapper with a diploma in audio engineering from the Audio Institute of America located in San Francisco California and CEO of 3rd World Entertainment, a fledging indie record label located in Monrovia, Liberia. Pochano returned to Liberian in 2005 at the end of the civil war after many year of living as a refugee in exile. He decided to come home and contribute to the rebuilding process through his talent and skills acquired as a recording engineer/producer. Over the past years he has worked with and produced some of the most played/listened to songs by young Liberian artists, including his 2012 production, with the help of an old friend Chris Veits, Product of a Failed State.
Rob Waugh - Composer
Rob is a UK / New Zealand based composer who has over 20 years experience - composing music for, among others, the BBC, EMI, Universal, ABC (Australia) and the UEFA Champions League.