Awards NewsPress Release

Anonymous Content’s We Are Ayenda documentary takes home Grand Prix at Cannes Lions

LOS ANGELES, USA — Production company Anonymous Content’s documentary, We Are Ayenda, created in partnership with WhatsApp and agency Modern Arts, has been awarded the Grand Prix for Entertainment at the 2024 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, celebrating the most groundbreaking world in creative marketing. We Are Ayenda tells the extraordinary story of the Afghan Youth Women’s National Football Team and their remarkable escape from Afghanistan after the Taliban took power in 2021.

The film was also honored with two Gold Lions – Entertainment: Non-Fiction Film: 5-30 Minutes and Entertainment Lions in Sport: Film Series and Audio, respectively; a Bronze for Entertainment Lions in Sport: Brand Storytelling categories and was shortlisted for Entertainment Lions forSport: Diversity & Inclusion in Sport. We Are Ayenda is currently shortlisted for two more categories – Classic: Film: Media & Entertainment and Glass: The Lion for Change.

The film follows the profound relationship that develops between Farkhunda Muhtaj, the former captain of Afghanistan’s women’s national football team and humanitarian activist, and the members of the women’s youth team. Despite never having met in person, Farkhunda leads the young women to safety via WhatsApp texts and voice messages, which are woven throughout the documentary to retell their story. 


“We are proud to have produced this important documentary and help bring more attention to the incredible bravery and unwavering spirit of Farkhunda and these young women,” said Eric Stern, Partner, Managing Director and Executive Producer of Anonymous Content. “We are honored to have worked alongside all of our partners on this project and brought more awareness to this incredible story.”

In a statement from Cannes Lions, Entertainment Lions Jury President Geoffrey Edwards, Managing Director, Creative at Gale US, said, “We AreAyenda is a powerful documentary film for WhatsApp, telling the story of 25 members of the Afghanistan Jr National Football team. We follow how they navigated their escape during the Taliban takeover of the capital city of Kabul in 2021 by using the safety features on WhatsApp. The film represents hope and demonstrates a perfect marriage of narrative storytelling, with the brand playing a central and critical role. Stories like this represent the power that brands and entertainment have to Impact real change in the world.”

The half-hour documentary, which debuted during the Women’s World Cup and is streaming on Prime Video and YouTube, was directed by award-winning filmmaker Amber Fares and reveals these young women’s bravery and determination to continue playing the sport they love. The documentary aims to raise awareness of the experience people face when forced to migrate and the power of sport to bring people together. 

We Are Ayenda was previously awarded for Branded Content & Entertainment: Standalone/Single Execution at the AICP Next Awards and Entertainment: Non-Scripted Long Form at the D&AD Awards.


Client: WhatsApp
Executive Producers: Eshan Ponnadurai, Vivian Odior, Sophie Ho, Ghada Soufan, Vida Habibi
Creative: Modern Arts
Production: Anonymous Content
Written & Directed by: Amber Fares
Executive Producers: Adam Groves, Zac Ryder, Eric Stern
Produced by: Amanda Naseem
Associate Producer: Alex Jurisich
Director of Photography: Daisy Zhou
Editor: Ashley Rodholm
Music Composer: William Ryan Fritch
Story Producer: Javed Rezayee
Consulting Editor: Rabab Haj Yahya
Development Producer: Lara Heintz
Editorial: Even/Odd Studios
Colorist: Kya Lou, Primary
Sound Design: Roast n’ Post
Design: GrandArmy
Still Photographer: Razan Alzayani
Team: Ayenda Football Club
Ayenda FC Coach + Refugee Activist: Farkhunda Muhtaj

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