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Special Project

Special Project
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

The Cave

Winner in Human Rights


National Geographic aimed to use THE CAVE, an evocative, bird’s-eye view of women’s lives in a hellish warzone and an unflinching look at the Syrian war, to champion its protagonist, Dr. Amani, and ensure recognition for her heroism; increase global awareness about the truth of the Syrian conflict; activate key individuals and organizations poised and able to make a difference; and support educators and nonprofit administrators to gather audiences together to brainstorm about how they can aid people in displaced communities.

Strategy and Execution

National Geographic and Danish Documentary partnered with Think-Film Impact Production on a strategic impact campaign for THE CAVE. While it would be extremely difficult to have a direct impact on the macro-political situation in Syria, by walking alongside Dr. Amani they knew they could make film audiences question what was really happening on the ground in Syria — and from there, build a platform for change.

National Geographic also worked in tandem with Picture Motion, the leading impact agency for films and television shows, on a grassroots screening tour that began in October 2019 and has confirmed events well into fall 2020, to spark critical conversations in communities across the United States.

The four-month campaign with Think-Film amassed incredible support for THE CAVE. The documentary film was brought into high-level, solution-focused policy discussions and in front of new influential stakeholders.

Additionally, a strong social media campaign was pushed to extend the film’s reach among key audience demographics and raise its profile. With THE CAVE telling such a personal story, our impact strategy envisioned a wide-scale online campaign that reached out to audiences with strong visual messaging and a call to action that everyone could participate in.

We created the #StandWithDrAmani messaging and also created an online petition — the “Petition for Truth”— to shed light on the ongoing violence faced by innocent victims on the ground in Syria. We also produced engaging videos and visual assets to promote this and the new Al Amal (Hope) Fund.

Picture Motion executed the grassroots campaign’s screening tour through proactive outreach to schools and nonprofits in the subject areas of women’s empowerment, music and art therapy, medical activism, the Syrian diaspora in the United States as well as Muslim communities. It also responded to organic interest fueled by the film’s awards campaign and traction. Each screening host was encouraged to take action by donating to the Al Amal (Hope) Fund, sign the “Petition for Truth” and read Dr. Amani’s op-ed featured in the Daily Beast about her experience at the Cave. Hosts were also provided with robust discussion guides and a screening toolkit, which gave audience members historic context regarding the Syrian Civil War, as well as suggestions for conversation topics and pre-and post- screening engagement. The discussion guide was also made available free of charge at along with simple ways to “Take Action” and #StandWithDrAmani, including reading Dr. Amani’s personal account of the ongoing human rights abuses in Syria; hosting a free classroom or community screening; learning about the Al Amal (Hope) Fund; and signing the “Petition for Truth.”


  1. Achieved international recognition for Dr. Amani as a human rights defender and humanitarian leader. This resulted in the Council of Europe granting Dr. Amani the Raoul Wallenberg Prize, firmly establishing Dr. Amani as a human rights defender and international humanitarian leader, while also giving her an invaluable platform to speak up for Syria.
  2. Changed the conversation on Syria to focus on vulnerable women and children, by bringing Dr. Amani and THE CAVE into high-level, solution-focused policy discussions with key individuals, including Dame Karen Elizabeth Pierce (UK Ambassador to the UN) and Mark Lowcock (UNOCHA).
  3. Raised 150,000 Euros to set up the Al Amal (Hope) Fund, a new, lasting structural support for female leaders in conflict zones. More specifically the Fund provides female medical workers risking their lives with aid that helps to ensure their health while assisting conflict-affected populations; educates and equips future generations of female leaders in conflict zones to break down gender barriers; and educates children so that they can be the leaders of tomorrow.
  4. Amassed public support to call for UN action to protect civilians and healthcare workers in Syria. The increased word-of-mouth interest in THE CAVE raised awareness of the issues facing the Syrian people and gave people across the world a way to express solidarity. We had an audience of over 328,000 people with over 58,000 who engaged in our social media posts.
  5. Screened the film for over 8,000 people at churches, temples, community centers and classrooms across the globe.


Video for The Cave

Entrant Company / Organization Name

National Geographic