Fort Worth

Ebola documentary featuring Kent Brantly will revisit outbreak

Following his recovery, Dr. Kent Brantly spoke about the heroic work of healthcare workers caring for Ebola patients on Oct. 29, 2014, as President Barack Obama looked on during an event in the East Room of the White House.
Following his recovery, Dr. Kent Brantly spoke about the heroic work of healthcare workers caring for Ebola patients on Oct. 29, 2014, as President Barack Obama looked on during an event in the East Room of the White House. MCT

Dr. Kent Brantly’s harrowing bout with the Ebola virus will be told again as part of a documentary showing in theaters across the country on March 30.

Called Facing Darkness, the 138-minute film will include the 35-year-old Fort Worth doctor who was working as a medical missionary for the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse when he became ill. It will also profile Nancy Writebol, who works for the international missionary organization SIM and who also nearly died from Ebola.

Writebol is back in Liberia with her husband, David.

The film was produced by Samaritan’s Purse, which is led by Franklin Graham, the eldest son of evangelist Billy Graham, and also includes interviews with the president of Liberia and Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s a story that appeals not just to Christians or churches; it’s also a story that the whole world was fixated on, not just for weeks, but for months,” said Arthur Rasco, the film’s director. “We saw it even here in various aspects in the U.S. and in Texas. This is the story behind the headlines.”

Although the Ebola outbreak is over in West Africa, there are still lingering issues in Liberia, Rasco said. Many Ebola survivors are treated as outcasts in their communities; some also face lingering health problems, including fatigue, joint pain and impaired vision.

“There is so much stigma for the survivors of Ebola,” Rasco said. “People won’t buy their products. Sometimes their homes are burned.”

Brantly says he hopes the film inspires viewers to act.

“I think people who watch that film are going to walk away, hopefully, being challenged to ask themselves some hard questions about faith, about this struggle of choosing compassion over fear,” Brantly said.

“It will be a timely reminder of the fact that we are all neighbors and we’ve got to pay attention to the suffering of our neighbors.”

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

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