Survivors: a portrait of the Ebola crisis

by WeOwnTV Vetted since 2014 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified

Hello Everyone,

We wanted to reach out and thank you all for your support of Survivors. You may have seen our wonderful news last week when we anounced that WeOwnTV has been awarded a Media Projects Production Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This means that we have completed the budget for the film and will be closing this fundraising page. We will be focussing our efforts on raising funds for the annual WeOwnTV Filmmaker Fellowship which provides cash grants and professional mentorship to West African filmmakers. If you would like to keep in touch with the progress of the Survivors film or support this new Fellowship program we have established a new GlobalGiving page HERE

It is an incredible honor to be among the many talented filmmakers to have been supported by the NEH over the years. We want to acknowledge how incredibly special this award feels right now as public funding for the arts and independent media is under threat. We are proud to be able to work with our friends at the NEH, ITVS and POV to bring this story and unique perspective to an American audience.

On behalf of all of us at WeOwnTV, thank you for your support of Survivors and our work in Sierra Leone. We truly could not have done it without your help. Survivors is a result of more than a decade of collaborative work between American and Sierra Leonean filmmakers and we can't wait to share it with the world. Looking forward to reaching out with more exciting news in the near future.

Thank you,

Anna & Banker


Freetown, Sierra Leone
Freetown, Sierra Leone

We are happy to share that we have made some great progress in the editing of our film, Survivors.  The very fiber of the project is an experiment in international, creative collaboration.  The film explores this both in content and process. In the film, we see the international agencies struggle to mount a culturally sensitive public health campaign and form positive work environments with local Sierra Leonean workers during the Ebola outbreak. As for our own contribution, with this project and the public health messaging campaign we spearheaded, we could not be more proud of our collaboration.

This winter we had the fortune of collaborating in person with our Sierra Leonean co-Director, Arthur Pratt, for six weeks in the U.S. We were able to work together for an extended time on the writing and editing of the film.  This was a critical part of the process and we are so grateful we shared this experience.

Arthur has returned to the Freetown Media Center in Sierra Leone and he and the team there are filming pick up shots and beautiful images of the city of Freetown.   In the U.S., we have started a new collaboration with our consulting editor, emmy-nominated, Don Bernier. We are thrilled to have him on our team and his experience has already proven to be very valuable in the creation of this film.

Our team hopes that this film will serve as a window into a culture many have never experienced first hand, and that in this foreign space, viewers find familiarity in what it means to be human.

Thank you for your interest in Survivors.  We hope that you will continue your support by making a donation and by sharing our GlobalGiving campaign with your network.

With gratitude,

Banker White and the team at WeOwnTV

Directors, Arthur and Banker in New York City
Directors, Arthur and Banker in New York City
Lansana and Arthur happy to be at Good Pitch Kenya
Lansana and Arthur happy to be at Good Pitch Kenya

We have great news to share!  After months of trying and a long wait, our Sierra Leonean collaborator, Arthur, received a U.S. Visa!  He has joined us in the U.S. to work on the edit of Survivors. It is incredibly important to us and critical for the film to have Arthur’s input in the editing process and we are thrilled he can join us in person.  He is in the U.S. for six weeks including a week in New York City where he will meet with other filmmakers, mentors, and our associates at POV.

In other exciting news, Arthur and our other Sierra Leonean colleague Lansana attended Good Pitch Kenya in October. Good Pitch is a BRITDOC project in partnership with Ford Foundation and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. The goal is to bring together documentary filmmakers with foundations, NGOs, campaigners, philanthropists, policymakers, brands and media around leading social and environmental issues - to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society.  Arthur and Lansana travelled to Nairobi for the event and met wonderful people, and learned from some great mentors. It was an enlightening opportunity for them and we are all grateful for the invitation.

Thank you for your interest in Survivors.  We hope that you will continue your support by making a donation and by sharing our GlobalGiving campaign with your network.

With gratitude,

Banker White and the team at WeOwnTV

Filmmakers & the Good Pitch Kenya team celebrate
Filmmakers & the Good Pitch Kenya team celebrate
Filmmakers at Good Pitch Kenya
Filmmakers at Good Pitch Kenya

Hello to all of our wonderful supporters!

We sincerely appreciate your continued support for Survivors and the filmmakers at the WeOwnTV Freetown Media Center. Our team just returned from one week at the Sundance edit lab.  It was an amazing experience that was also made bittersweet as our Sierra Leonean colleagues, Arthur and Barmmy, were not able to get US VISAs to join us.  We have however hatched a new plan to be together for our edit. Survivors was also selected to participate in GoodPitch Kenya in Nairobi in October and Anna and I plan to join them there and stay for an extra month to edit together.

In an effort to continue our mission of supporting independent filmmakers, improving media literacy and promoting civic engagement, we recently launched our first annual documentary Story Challenge.  We had an open call for documentary submissions from filmmakers in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  We awarded funding to an impressive group of 9 filmmakers. 

Ten finalists from the open challenge were selected to participate in our inaugural WeOwnTV Fellowship, which provides workshops and mentoring support for selected filmmakers for a year. A production workshop was held in the first week of May at our Freetown Media Center, where the fellows presented their work and received training and mentorship from industry leaders. The second workshop will also be held in Freetown, Sierra Leone in November of 2016 and will focus on editorial of the fellows' films. We will explore distribution opportunities for these films in early 2017.

From the impressive group of ten finalists, we selected 3 winners and 4 runners up who will share $48,000 in cash assistance and distribution opportunities.

OUR 2016 FELLOWS    Last names omitted for privacy
Director: John

“Life after the Army” focuses on the daily activities and stories of five ex-service men who left the army through the Voluntary Retirement Programme. The difficult lives of these men and the stories they tell echo the sentiment of thousands of their comrades who are scattered across Sierra Leone having gone through the same retirement programme.

Director: George

“Holes in my Backyard” is a documentary that looks at some of the secret activities around coastal settlements in Sierra Leone. Kroo Bay slum settlement is in the very heart of the city. This settlement is notorious for many illegal activities such as prostitution, drug dealing and gambling. Notably the settlement is now a key smuggling port for people bringing in and taking out illegal goods.

Director: Michael

“Bridging Communities After Ebola” Even after Ebola had been declared over; Ebola survivors are still perceived as those who brought death to their communities. The main story would focus on a particular journalist, who tries to break the chain of discrimination or stigmatization for a peaceful coexistence, through the media and other peace building mechanisms.

Runners Up
Amara, Risk Life
Michaella, The Journey
Mohamed, Okada
Tyson, Devil’s Stone

Aminata, Da Bode Ose
Noël, Open Door Pêche
Hindolo, Climate Change Sierra Leone

We are excited to encourage and support more independent journalism and filmmaking in West Africa and we hope you are too. Please help us support these filmmakers and encourage a culture of creativity and intellectual freedom in West Africa by donating what you can and spreading the word by sharing our GlobalGiving campaign with your network.

With gratitude,

Banker White and the team at WeOwnTV

Hello to all of our wonderful Survivors supporters!

We are happy to announce that we are now in post-production on Survivors as we began our edit this week!  We are so excited to be working with oscar-nominated and emmy award winning editor, Sari Gilman.  Our Sierra Leonean co-producers, Arthur Pratt and Lansana Mansaray (aka Barmmy Boy) are also planning to come to the U.S. this June to work with us on the edit of the film and meet other local filmmakers in San Francisco.

Survivors was recently chosen as a finalist on the short list for the 2016 Visionary Award from the Tim Hetherington Trust. We are honored to have been acknowledged by this distinguished foundation.

Our non-profit production organization, WeOwnTV, held its first annual documentary Story Challenge.  We had an open call for documentary submissions from filmmakers in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  We awarded funding to 9 filmmakers and we are providing a year-long mentorship program with production and post-production workshops taking place in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  We are excited to encourage and support more independent journalism and filmmaking in West Africa and we look forward to sharing more moving stories from this region.

We still need funding to complete our film and we are actively seeking support. Please spread the word and make a donation if you can.

Thank you for your time and your contributions.

Banker White and the team at WeOwnTV



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Organization Information


Location: San Francisco, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @GeniusofMarian
Project Leader:
Banker White
San Francisco, CA United States
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