The 2018 Women’s Voices Now Online Film Festival Winners


Attitudes toward women range from sanctified to desecrated. Women choose to perpetuate toxicity or to demand dignity. This dynamic is played out in relationships with self, with family, with community, and with the world. From Myanmar to Uganda, Bilbao to Los Angeles, the films selected to Exposed and Uncovered: The War on Women fixed our gaze upon the globally acknowledged need to redefine and re-establish the relationships within and among women, and between men and women.




Congratulations to all of our filmmakers. Thank you for participating and elevating the issues and causes we need to be paying attention to.

Here’s our chance to meet the filmmakers and learn how their recognition in Exposed and Uncovered: The War on Women will further their activism, and how you can help too!



Leslie J. Sacks Grand Prize Award: Qandeel

Qandeel Baloch, in her life and through her death became a working-class icon in Pakistan. This film tells Qandeel’s story through her own videos and media appearances. A young, fearless woman who collided with Pakistan’s mainstream media, exposed the religious right, and challenged middle-class morality.


Saad Khan is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker from Pakistan.

Tazeen Bari is a Pakistan-based documentary filmmaker.

Watch Director Saad Khan’s acceptance speech!

Best Documentary Feature: Hauntings in the Archive!

The VBKÖ was founded in 1910. It was one of the first organizations in Europe to represent the artistic and economic interests of women artists; and to help women artists to participate in exhibitions, educations, and discussions. Twenty-eight years later, in 1938, the association decided to meet the requirements of the National Socialist regime, to expel its Jewish members, and to align its program with the ideologies of the regime.

Directors: Nina Hoechtl and Julia Wieger

The Sekretariat für Geister, Archivpolitiken und Lücken (Secretariat for Ghosts, Archival Politics and Gaps) is a working group of the Vereinigung Bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs (Austrian Association of Women artists, VBKÖ). It was founded by Nina Hoechtl and Julia Wieger in 2012 to incorporate a critical examination of the VBKÖ’s archive and her/history/ies within the association. Through lecture-performances, workshops, texts, and a film they discuss the role of the VBKÖ during the course of Austrofascism and National Socialism, alongside the association’s class-specific and colonial entanglements.,

Watch Directors Nina and Julia’s acceptance speech!


Best Documentary Short: Kayayo, the Living Shopping Baskets

Kayayo means “girl-carrier” in the Ga language. In Ghana, about 100,000 girls from the age of six work as real-life shopping baskets called Kayayo, carrying heavy loads on their head (from 130 to 220 pounds). Earning very little, some end up in prostitution to make ends meet. This documentary is about Bamunu, an eight-year-old girl who hasn’t seen her family since she was sent away from home, two years ago, to work as a Kayayo to support her family. We follow her incessant longing to get away from the harsh markets, her journey back home, and what awaits there.

Director: Mari Bakke Riise

Mari Bakke Riise (1982) is educated as a documentary director from NISS. She has worked in the film and television business for over ten years. She started as an editor but has worked as a director for the last eight years. She has directed several television productions, documentary films, and documentary series. Mari worked for different production companies like Skofteland Film, Mastiff, Strix, Nordisk Film, Itv, Rubicon, Monster, NRK, Speranza, Integral film, and others.

Watch Director Mari Bakke Riise’s acceptance speech!

Best Narrative Short: Sea Child

On the verge of becoming a woman, Sora is woken by a nightmare and decides to follow a group of men into the city in hopes of finding her mom.

Director: Minha Kim

Minha Kim is an award winning Director based in London. She was born in South Korea and graduated from the National Film and Television School in England. Her most recent film Sea Child (2015) won multiple awards such as, Best Film at Tweetfest in the United Kingdom, Best Student Film at Cut Out Fest in Mexico, Anibar Animation Festival at Kosovo, European Animated Film Festival BALKANIMA in Serbia, and more; and was officially selected to over 40 international film festivals.

Watch Director Minha Kim’s acceptance speech!

Best Experimental Film: The First of the Free Girls

A girl entering womanhood discovers a dissonance between what she really wants and what society expects of her.

Director: Alexandra Velasco

Alexandra Velasco is a multimedia artist, performer, and filmmaker born in Mexico City, presently residing in Los Angeles. Alexandra’s work centers around the political and performative body. She explores the formation and role of individual identities and how these interact with different environments. Her interest in dualities, in seeing the light in the dark and vice versa, has moved her to explore the outlined idea of gender and oneness. Her voice, mind, and body serve to tell non-linear stories, create time-warped moments, and challenge the point of our collective existence. Oftentimes a sense of the surreal, the uncomfortable, and the erotic incorporates itself in her created realities; be it in her films, collages, or performances. She is currently working on various film and art projects. Her work tells stories about women that either live in her head or who can’t tell their own stories.

Watch Director Alexandra Velasco’s acceptance speech!




Ballad for Syria (Director: Eda Elif Tibet)


Kayan: Beyond the Rings  (Director: Marko Randelovic)


Aver (Director: Felicia Villarreal)


Beauty Fear Violence (Director: Anouk Phéline)