Last Saturday, Kenyan cyclist Sule Kangangi died after a crash at The Overland gravel race in Vermont. Kangangi, 33, served as the captain of Team Amani, a cycling squad dedicated to promoting inclusivity and opportunities for East Africans.
"Amani" means "peace" in Swahili, and Kangangi's spirit shines on through his team and a short film from Droga5, which launched a few days ahead of Sule's tragic death.
Directed by Aus Taylor and Marleaux Desiré (aka, Illimiteworld) through production company Love Song, the clip combines music-video and mini-doc styles to show how Meta products and the metaverse help the team train, connect and overcome barriers.
More pointedly, the video—which now closes with an end-card memorializing Sule—captures the passion Kangangi instilled in his dozen charges and conveys the hope cycling brings to the lives of underserved people striving for dignity, identity and a better place in the world.
Droga5 senior art director Ben Muckensturm tells Muse that in the wake of the Kangangi tragedy, Team Amani "remains committed to realizing his ambitions." Those include seeing squad members race in the Tour de France, a topic discussed in the film.
The day after his death, the team posted this tribute on Instagram:
"Amani" serves as a sequel of sorts to the Emmy-nominated "Skate Nation Ghana," from Meta, Droga5 and Love Song. That effort won a 2022 Gold Clio Award for excellence in editing. Both films effectively explore the nexus of technology and human endeavor, showing how Meta's digital offerings power real-life ambitions and help folks achieve IRL goals.
Kangangi's death lends "Amani"—already an emotional experience—extra gravitas, imbuing each frame with deeper meaning tinged with sadness but buoyed by hope. Campaign elements will run across Meta's Facebook and Instagram platforms, broadcast networks ABC, NBC and CBS, and on as YouTube, Wired and Condé Nast properties.
Below, agency creative take us behind the scenes of "Amani."
Muse: Can you explain how the cyclists use Meta tools?
Ben Muckensturm, senior art director: Spread across East Africa from Kenya, Uganda to Rwanda, Team Amani uses WhatsApp as their primary means of communication when not physically together. They plan their training, online and IRL races, and all competition travel logistics in their main group chat, as captured in the film. Through their use of Instagram and Facebook, Team Amani has begun to build a global following and can promote their efforts to the broader cycling community, such as encouraging participation and sponsors of their upcoming races, highlighting team member personal stories and more.
And of course, this humanizes Meta's brand, and the metaverse—which can, at times, be a lightning rod for negativity.
Thom Glover, executive creative director: "Amani" is a glimpse into the possibilities of the future metaverse through the journey of an East African cycling team as they evolve from connecting using Meta's technologies to gaining global visibility. We hope that people will see this creative and feel inspired and excited for the future possibilities of the metaverse.
Can you talk a bit about making the film?
Mike Hasinoff, executive producer: All footage was shot in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa over the course of a month. All cycling footage was captured using multiple cameras, everything from an Alexa to a drone, Super-8 and even a Fisher-Price and FlipCam Video Recorder. We also worked with the legendary Tony Hill to design bespoke rigs to play off the circular motion of a bike wheel.
There's pace and momentum. The action always moves ahead. That vibe was intentional, yes?
Mike Hasinoff: Our vision for the filmmaking style was to capture cycling in a way that hasn't been seen before, but also fully immerse the viewer in the experience, which would lead into the future expansive possibilities that the metaverse makes possible.
Agency Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman David Droga
Chief Creative Officer Scott Bell
Executive Creative Director Thom Glover
Creative Director Ted Meyer
Creative Director Jason Gold
Senior Copywriter Ben Brown
Senior Copywriter Benjamin Hinamanu
Senior Art Director Ben Muckensturm
Executive Design Director Nate Scott
Group Design Director Mark Yoon
Designer Kenisha Rullan
Executive Producer, Film Mike Hasinoff
Senior Producer, Film Scotty Schuckies
Producer, Film Mel Calabro
Associate Producer, Film Matt Mintz
Senior Music Supervisor Mike Ladman
Music Supervisor Brandy Ricker
Junior Music Supervisor Mara Techam
Director of Business Affairs Dan Simonetti
Senior Business Affairs Manager Ramona Seunath
Senior Business Affairs Manager Jeannie Curcio
Senior Business Affairs Manager Sharee Manning
Senior Traffic Manager Wendy Kaplan
Talent Manager May Chee
Chief Brand Strategy Officer Harry Román-Torres
Group Brand Strategy Director Diana Gonzalez
Brand Strategy Director Anthony Perez
Senior Brand Strategist Ellie Frame
Associate Brand Strategist Mariel Calara
Group Comms Strategy Director Jonathan Daly
Comms Strategy Director Ashley Branch
Comms Strategist Russell Harris
Chief Knowledge Officer Andy Littlewood
Senior Data Strategist Sean La’Brooy
Co-Head of Account Management Jessica Kingsbery
Account Director Gabrielle Barbuto
Account Supervisor Roxy Alberts
Account Manager Caitlin Carr
Group Project Manager Christine DiStasio
CMO Alex Schultz
VP Global Company Marketing Andrew Stirk
Company Marketing Director Vivienne Walsh
VP Marketing Insights Rick Malins
Head of Creative, Company Tom Markham
Brand Marketing Director Jasmine Summerset-Karcie
Brand Marketing Manager Lauren Kyriacou
Brand Marketing Manager Reid Prichard
Brand Strategist Ally Chapman
Brand Marketing Insights Nikki Rand
Head of Design Zach Stubenvoll
Creative Director, Design Maria Wan
Production Strategist Julian Katz
Brand Communications Manager Monica Ma
Director of Strategic Media Planning Radhika Narang
Strategic Media Planning Danielle Nichols
Strategic Media Planning Nick Mejia
Production Company Love Song
Partner/Executive Producer Daniel Wolfe
Director of Photography Diego Garcia, Shawn Peters
Managing Partner/Executive Producer Kelly Bayett
Executive Producer Deannie O’Neil
Head of Production Paige Kauffman
Producer Leah Donnenberg
1st Assistant Director Alejandro Ramia, Kristina Ilyina
Stylist Bee Diamondhead
Producer Designer Andrew Clark
Directors’ Assistant Louis McCourt, Ja’Lisa Arnold, Ellen Nielsen
Production Service Company (Kenya) Blue Sky Films
Executive Producer Hemal Shah
Production Service Company (South Africa) Monkey Films
Owner/Executive Producer Clare van Zyl
Head of Production Phillip Killingbeck
Editor Dominic Leung, Amber Saunders
Assistant Editor Matthew Blacklock
Executive Producer Harriet Cawley
Post Production, Color Company 3
Colorist Simon Bourne
Senior Color Producer Chris Anthony
Post Production, VFX The Mill
Executive Creative Director Dan Williams
Creative Director & 2D Lead Carl Norton
3D Lead Edward Shires, Dan Moore, Nuno Pereira, Adam Droy
2D Artists Matt McDougal, Gustavo Ribeiro, Rafael Vormittag, Zoe Cosh
3D Artists Artur Drozdowicz, Arnab Bhattacharya, Aman Jain, Ben Beckett, Callum Austin, Charles Vidaud, Giacomo Cavalletti, Hannah Bahyan, Joao Pires, Katie Bates, Kieran Russell, Kapil Rana, Luke Frampton, Sandeep Grover, Vaclav Cizkovsky, Thomas Craig, Shravan Srikanth, Dinesh B, Jyoti Prakash Panda, Thirumoorthi Sivakumar, Swathi M S, Roman Vrbovsky, Praveen Sharma, Pol Escale Cabre, Petroc Menuhin, Paul Autric, Paul Tempelman
Design Kwok Lam, Adam Roche, Barry Chapman, Can Y Sanalan, Freya Barnsley, Henrik Holmberg, Daphne Westelynck
Color Assist Caitlin Donaldson, Rory Leighton
Executive Producer Clare Melia
Producer Nicola Simmons
Line Producer Tarun Misra
Finish Artist David Wishart, Gavin Marler
Title Designs & Typography Fraser Muggeridge studio
Music Supervision Curation Music
Music Supervisor Sunny Kapoor
Recording Studio (Kenya) Hiventy
Sound Design Barking Owl
Sound Designer Gus Koven
Creative Director Kelly Bayett
Executive Producer Ashley Benton
“Ffe basajja ba Kabaka” Remixer Bobcat Goldwav
Additional Sound Design & Mix King Lear Music & Sound
Sound Designer & Mixer Ed Downham