Short Film of the Week: Out of the Village

Short Film of the Week: Out of the Village

Out of the Village contrives a masterful short film, with its superior filmmaking and impactful subject line.

Set in West Africa during the Ebola epidemic, this narrative begins with a young boy named Mebro, portrayed by Abraham Attah (Beasts of no Nation), pouring a drink for himself, as well as all of his relatives. It’s quite clear he has lost his mother and father, but it is not certain yet as to how. I instantly felt a connection with the young boy, even though I hadn’t a clue what it felt like to be in his position. People were engulfed with fear during the ebola outbreak, and rightfully so, and many of us have never experienced such a chaotic period in our life.

A few trucks then approached, staffed with armed men, and Mebro rushes to his sister, Vabiam (Hannah Attah).  They attempt to hide from these men, and you can feel the tension. We can see the fear in the young kids eyes, desperately trying to avoid being ripped away for their home. This is the turning point in Out of the Village, as you start to get a clearer image of just how dangerous life was during the epidemic, as well as the direction this film is taking. The idea that men can show up to your home one day and simply take you against your will, for committing no crime, is lost on many of us. Yet at the same time, we can understand the mens’ fear of contracting the disease. They don’t know these young kids, or what they have been exposed to. Our nature is to survive, and they cannot be faulted for their extreme caution.  The ability to capture this level of terror without using graphic images is a testament to writers Luke A. Renner and Jonathan Stein ability. It’s not long before the men discover Mebro and Vabiam, and then their parents, who have succumbed to the disease. They then proceed to burn those bodies (hidden inside body bags), directly in front of the children, another example of how desperate times called for desperate measures. What a morbid scene that was, but necessary to evoke the emotion that Renner and Stein are aiming for.

As the storyline for Out of the Village progresses, we continue to see more fear and desperation, a theme that was rampant in West Africa during this time. The kids are taken to a clinic, and housed with other potential ebola patients. The quality of this clinic is maddening, but due to the volume of the outbreak not so surprising. We are then introduced to Dr. Kofi (Kobina Amissah-Sam), an invaluable asset to this resource deprived facility, as the one individual willing to step up and help the children. He cares for the kids, and helps to bring them closure in the final moments of the short film.

Quite frankly, Out of the Village is an absolutely stunning short film about a terribly disgusting moment in time. Most of you reading this are lucky enough to have never experienced tragedy in the way these kids have, along with many native Africans, so I find a film such as this extremely important. Out of the Village was shot in Africa, with a local cast and crew, so while you won’t recognize many of the actors names, with the exception of Abraham Attah, know that their performances were inspiring. This also goes to show Jonathan Stein’s talent as a director, forming a cast of talented individuals and guiding them to filmmaking brilliance.


Out of the Village has appeared in many festivals, such as:

  • Bermuda International Film Festival
  • FlickerFest International Short Film Festival
  • Athens International Film + Video Festival
  • Sun Valley Film Festival
  • Newport Beach Film Festival
  • San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
  • Gasparilla International Film Festival
  • Sunscreen Film Festival
  • Short Waves Festival
  • Beverly Hills Film Festival
  • Omaha Film Festival
  • Sedona International Film Festival
  • Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival
  • World Festival of Emerging Cinema
  • Changing Perspectives

Along the way, winning the following awards:

  • Grand Jury Prize, Nashville Film Festival**
  • Best International Short, Foyle Film Festival**
  • Best International Film, Show Me Shorts Film Festival**
  • Best Short Film, The American Pavilion Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at Cannes
  • Jury Prize, Helsinki African Film Festival
  • Best Short Film, Boston International Film Festival
  • Emerging Filmmaker Award, Taos Shortz Film Fest
    **Academy Awards qualifying win

This short film also has upcoming festival appearences:

  • Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival
  • Zanzibar Film Festival
  • Woods Hole Film Festival
  • Tlanchana Fest
  • Big Island Film Festival
  • South Bay Film Festival
  • Stony Brook Film Festival
  • River Film Festival
  • Quarantine Film Festival
  • Oxford International Film Festival

Keep up with Out of the Village’s happenings by following them on social media:

Twitter: @ootvfilm
Facebook: facebook.com/outofthevillage

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