Don’t ignore Ebola crisis, Olivia urges
Hollywood actor Olivia Wilde (left) hopes that a documentary she helped produce will remind the world about the lingering impact of the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
The 31-year-old, who will be seen in the Christmas holiday comedy, Love the Coopers, came to the US Mission to the United Nations on Tuesday for a different role — that of the executive producer of the award-winning short documentary on Ebola, Body Team 12.
She said that the film about a volunteer team collecting bodies at the height of the Ebola crisis in Liberia, touches upon two issues: women’s rights and community health workers, particularly in West Africa. The Ebola epidemic has killed over 11,100 people mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since March 2014. Liberia is now Ebola free, but its ripple effects in the three countries might last for years.
The film won the best short documentary award at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. “People would possibly ignore such issues either because they are too difficult or overwhelming — in such cases, the power of documentary filmmaking is profound,” Wilde said.
“It’s something most people won’t want to touch on,” she said of Ebola. “They want to leave it behind, and I think part of that has to do with personal fear.” Wilde urged the diplomats “as people with voices that are listened to” to include Ebola and the role of women in every discussion, and to share the film “because it’s inspiring — it’s a story of heroism.”