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The Challenge

The George W Bush Institute approached us about making an explainer video for their newest publication telling the stories of Afghan women after the fall of the Taliban. The Institute, an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization, created the Afghan Women’s Project to support effective programs in Afghanistan. The book highlights the success of Afghan women by sharing their stories.

The challenge for this piece was that while things are definitely improving for women in Afghanistan, there are still challenges. So we had to walk the line between painting a too rosy picture while not ignoring the struggles the community has overcome.

What we did:

  • Concept Development
  • Storyboarding
  • Motion Graphics
  • VO coordination
  • Sound Design

Silver Telly - Graphics

37th Annual Telly Awards

Bronze Telly - Social Responsibility

37th Annual Telly Awards

Bronze Telly - Animation

37th Annual Telly Awards


Explainers with sensitive subject matter are all about employing metaphors, we use them to create a powerful visual shorthand that helps convey the message without making the viewer want to look away.

The Bush Institute had selected the tale of a beekeeper, a job forbidden to women in Afghan society under the Taliban, to convey what those difficult and oppressive years had been like. The queen bee, who does not leave the hive but who is at the same time responsible for all life within it, became a perfect metaphor for the women of Afghanistan who have worked indoors, quietly furthering their and their families lives without attracting notice for years. They have persevered through harsh circumstances and contributed positive change to their nation.


Of course, we started with some heavy sketching to make sure we got the message across clearly.


We used a simple monochromatic palette to help convey the sense of hardship that they have had to confront, balanced with a hopeful, optimistic music track and a warm voice. We also went with a very sparse sound design, adding minimal sound effects to keep the focus on the strong, but quiet overall message of the piece.


“It is important for those of us around the world, both women and men, to stop and listen to Afghanistan’s women. How can we help change the lives of women in Afghanistan? The women in these pages have their own thoughtful answers. By listening, we also have a chance to learn.”

Laura Bush