For Immediate Release

Documentary launches June 6th on W Network

A mysterious illness in the fall of 2000 strikes and kills, in Africa. Nurses, with a shortage of protective gear, are on the cusp of an epidemic.

They begin to die. The diagnosis: Ebola.

For the first time, their story of courage and compassion is being shared with television audiences. June 6th at 9 pm EDT, the W Network presents Ebola War: The Nurses of Gulu.

Internal organs melt. Bodily fluids pour from openings. Up to 90% of Ebola victims die, but even more frighteningly, they are contagious even in death. The virus stays alive in the secretions of the dead for three days.

By the time the disease is spent in Gulu, 163 are dead – including Dr. Matthew Lukwiya and twelve nurses. This one hour documentary from Alethia Productions Inc. is a timely tale in an age of new heroes, new dangers.

Viewers will see a dramatic five month struggle against the demons of an unknowable disease being fought in a developing country. The illness sows panic in the community. Nurses are suspected by villagers of spreading Ebola. They are banned from buying food in the market. Friends turn their backs. Family members plead with them to quit work, but they refuse. The nurses fear the disease will follow them home. No one is safe.

Ebola War: The Nurses of Gulu is a powerful and poignant documentary which takes viewers to the northern Ugandan community of Gulu and into the eye of a virulent epidemic.

Shot on location in hospital isolation wards and villages, the contrasts are breathtaking. The stunning beauty of Africa mixes with terror. Viewers see painful suffering, exhausted hospital workers and finally joyous, unimaginable exuberance. Trauma and triumph are explored in these eyewitness accounts from frontline medical workers.

Ebola War: The Nurses of Gulu was filmed, written and directed by David Belluz. "I was in awe of those sacrificing their lives for no monetary gain. For one month, the isolation ward was madness. What these nurses did in this place of evil was extraordinary."

In the fall of 2000, David was in Uganda shooting the story of child soldiers when the outbreak occurred. He'd already witnessed the horrifying results of sixteen years of struggle between the Lord's Resistance Army and government soldiers. Then, on his way to Gulu, he heard that Ebola had begun its attack.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moved in – yet still nurses died.

"I went to the battlefield" says nurse Walter Onena . Finishing his thought is Nurse Parka Obwona, "We were all wearing the same protective gear. That is the scary part."

For the first time, Canada was asked by WHO to join the Global Response Network Team. Health Canada sent in three of its field epidemiologist, including Dr. Bonnie Henry.

"The biggest obstacles were fear. Ebola is an enigma that has potential to cause enormous damage," Henry says.

Filmmaker Belluz says this story is one, "that taps into all our senses".

Ebola War: The Nurses of Gulu is an intimate and moving look at the harsh reality of health care workers; the ethical decisions they face; the sacrifices they make. The cost of being "our brother's keeper" is great. The cost of turning away is insurmountable. Front line workers facing crisis and fear will definitely strike a chord with today's television audiences.

The program, narrated by Gemini nominee Marina Orsini, gets its first airing on W Network at 9 pm. EDT, June 6. Additional airings take place on Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) and The Documentary Channel.

The original, haunting score was composed by the award-winning J. Douglas Dodd and features compelling vocals from Joëlle Rabu.

Ebola War: The Nurses of Gulu was produced by David Belluz and his company Alethia Productions Inc. Lori Kuffner is Senior Producer. Daryl K. Davis is editor and story consultant.

Funding was provided by W Network, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canadian Television Fund, Saskatchewan Communications Network, The Documentary Channel, the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and developed with the participation of SaskFilm

Press materials, including images for download are available online at:

For interviews, VHS screening copies and additional information contact Alethia Productions Inc., Regina, Saskatchewan (306) 585-1596