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Marie Margolius

Executive Producers

Trevor Noah, Libby Geist, Aaron Cohen, Mark Meatto, Ian Orefice, Loren Hammonds, Alexa Conway, Elizabeth Waller, Rashida Jones, Amanda Spain


Marie Margolius


Mitra Bonshahi, Kristina Motwani


Jonathan Nelson, Federico Pardo

It was just before midnight on August 26th when seventeen-year-old Sadaf Shrifzada followed the instructions she’d gotten from some people she’d never met: she packed a small bag with her cell phone, soccer uniform, and a few bottles of water, and quietly left her home in Kabul in pursuit of a new life.


Sadaf had never traveled more than a few hours from her home in Kabul, but on that morning, she and her teammates on the Under-18 Afghan National Women’s Football Team embarked on what would become a month-long odyssey to escape their homeland. The journey would be excruciating – with many of the girls and their families losing hope and giving up before making it out. But on September 19th, twenty-five days after the ordeal began, those who endured – Sadaf, her teammates, and as many family members as could fit – boarded a plane to Lisbon, Portugal. The Portuguese government had agreed to grant the girls and their families asylum, and let them rebuild their lives there.


Ayenda tells the story of how the Afghan soccer team escaped with their lives, and the improbable network that banded together to get them out.


Courtesy of MSNBC Films

Director, Ayenda

Marie Margolius is a documentary film producer based in Brooklyn. After beginning her career at ESPN, Marie joined Words + Pictures in 2021, a nonfiction production studio in Soho, where she oversees production at the company. Ayenda is her directorial debut.