HBO Documentary Films has acquired U.S. TV rights to “Body Team 12,” winner of the Tribeca Film Festival award for best documentary short and recently nominated for an International Documentary Association award for best short. “Body Team 12” is directed by journalist-filmmaker and RYOT Co-Founder David Darg, who put his life at risk by embedding with a team of heroic Liberian Red Cross workers tasked with collecting the dead during the height of the Ebola outbreak. The film will debut on HBO in February 2016.
Executive produced by Paul G. Allen and Olivia Wilde, and produced by RYOT Co-Founder Bryn Mooser, the film lays bare the heartbreaking but lifesaving work of removing bodies from loved ones in order to halt the transmission of the disease. The filmmakers capture devastating and poignant images, shot on the ground in Monrovia, Liberia, that reveal the Ebola crisis through the story of Garmai Sumo, the sole female member of the body collection team.
“The bravery of these young Liberians was an astounding phenomenon to witness, as they risked their lives every day to save the lives of others, and to save their country from Ebola,” says Darg. “Body Team 12” is a tribute to those heroes, and it is our hope that a presentation on HBO will honor these body teams and lead to greater exposure of their determination and tireless efforts.”
Adds Mooser: “While it was an extremely dangerous and risky documentary to make, it is a story that needed to be told. The film stands as a testament to the power of storytelling to move people to act.” Even Carole Tomko, General Manager and Creative Director of Vulcan Productions, has something to say. “We must apply the lessons learned from this Ebola outbreak to ensure that a health emergency like this never happens again for the same reasons,” she explains. “We hope this extraordinary work of journalism and filmmaking will help bring critical awareness to the importance of better diagnostics, proper infrastructure and adequate information in stopping the next outbreak from turning into the next epidemic. ‘Body Team 12’ is a part of the ongoing commitment to ending Ebola and driving awareness around pandemic preparedness by our founder, Paul Allen, and it significantly augments our efforts on this front to have the vital information and storytelling of this film reach a national audience.”
Executive producer Paul G. Allen has been a catalyst in the global response to the ongoing West African Ebola outbreak. He is the largest private donor in the effort to combat the disease, having committed at least $100 million to raise awareness and fund impactful work in the field. “Body Team 12” extends the media work of Allen’s Vulcan Productions to help stop Ebola. Other media projects include the #ISurvivedEbola video campaign and funding of BBC Media Action on the ground in West Africa.