Curtain falls on women’s film and art fest

WIFF’s largest edition closes at event celebrating women creators’ impact

Guests attend film festival’s closing ceremony to honour women creators. PHOTO: ZUNAIRAH QURESHI/EXPRESS


The Women’s International Film & Arts Festival (WIFF) came to a close in a ceremony hosted by the Embassy of Spain in Islamabad on March 8 – aptly coinciding with International Women’s Day.

The film festival, in its 8th year running, featured various cultural expositions through women-directed films sourced from around the world. With a line-up of 31 short films from 19 different countries including Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Spain, Japan and others, this was Women Through Film’s (WOTF) most elaborate and expansive edition of WIFF to date.

Following a two-day public screening of the films at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA), screening sessions at different institutions, a workshop hosted by renowned Spanish filmmaker Elena Molina and other events centred on the role of women creators, the festival wrapped up at the residence of the Spanish ambassador.

The closing ceremony started with screenings of two short films followed by a reception hosted by the Ambassador of Spain. The first film that was showcased was Pakistani directors Esha Shakil and Haris Ahmed Khan’s ‘Explicit’, a story highlighting the struggle of a girl trying to adhere to society's oppressive standards for women. The second film was Spanish director Elisa Puerto Aubel’s ‘The Barn’, which was a critical commentary on the environmental crisis and politicians’ failure to act accountably.

This year, the Embassy of Spain in Islamabad joined the Embassies of Germany and France, the British Council, the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine and others in supporting the film festival to enable cultural exchange alongside women empowerment.

In his closing remarks at the ceremony, the H.E. Ambassador of Spain to Pakistan, Jose Antonio de Ory, emphasised Spain’s stance on the importance of supporting women by stating that, “For us, feminism, protection, empowering women is a nexus of our foreign policy in Spain. For the Foreign Minister and all of us, what we call the feminist foreign policy is a tenet for our ministry of foreign affairs.”

The ambassador went on to congratulate the founder of WOTF and curator of WIFF, Madeeha Raza for her efforts towards providing women a platform to amplify their voices. Madeeha, while speaking to The Express Tribune, recounted her journey when, 8 years ago she had started on her own by bootstrapping the initiative and then encountering people such as the EU ambassador who saw the significance of her work and pledged their support.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2024.


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