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ALBA SOTORRA

Alba Sotorra is a documentary maker based in Barcelona.  Upon completing her degree in Audio-visual Communication she hitchhiked from Barcelona to Pakistan to shoot her first film, Miradas desveladas (Unveiled Perspectives). The journey took over a year and led her to countries such as Bosnia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she filmed portraits of female artists that used art to express themselves freely in profoundly patriarchal contexts. These brave, strong women became a source of inspiration, forging her feminist conscience and commitment: “Before I made that trip I thought that feminism belonged to my mother’s generation and that we, thanks to their struggle, had all our problems solved. But that journey put me in touch with the harsh reality of women and made me realise we still have a lot of work to do.”

Alba is wearing Naturale sweater and Specchio skirt.

For Alba the feminist struggle is about fighting all forms of oppression and inequality: “It’s not just about equity: it’s about radically transforming the structures that perpetuate social inequality and that are responsible for the climate crisis and armed conflict.” 

Alba is wearing Ash sweater, Matrix pants and Toni scarf.

“War is devastating. I had the profound notion of what war is the first time I was in Kobane, in Northern Syria. I arrived when it was still night-time. As daylight broke I discovered I was in a city that had been totally bombed. The concrete skeletons of destroyed buildings with their rusty iron bones poking out were as shocking as dead bodies. I burst into tears.”

“The first time I went to Syria I had no idea what I was getting into. I flew to Turkey and took a bus to a village on the border with Syria. There, a group of Kurdish activists were waiting for me to guide me across the border illegally, by night. But I was not dressed for the occasion. And I had even brought a massive pink trolley that I had to leave behind in Turkey. Why didn’t they warn me we would have to cross on foot? We spent the whole night running through fields and as I had gone out in a long skirt and suede brogues, I tripped up several times. The situation caught me so unawares that I didn’t have time to feel fear. Instead I felt ridiculous: who the hell goes to war dressed like that?! A few days later I was at the front just metres away from ISIS.”

Alba is wearing Mongolia dress.

“When I met the YPJ – the Women’s Defence Units, I was fascinated by their strength and by everything they had achieved. For them, empowerment means taking control of the institutions where power is generated and feminizing them: they are an army of women that protect women’s safety and interests. Apart from fighting against ISIS, they were responsible for the Rojava revolution, whose core idea for change is women’s liberation. Freedom implies a constant collective effort.”

For her last project she has filmed she has spent two months in detention centres in Northern Syria with Western women that went to Syria to join ISIS: “It was very moving to connect emotionally with them and their families.” 

“I am interested in documentary film making because it puts me in touch with reality. It’s an opportunity to understand the world in depth and experience it in the first person. It is really necessary to look at the world from different points of view in order to get a deeper idea of things, with all their shades of grey and complexities.”

For Alba beauty lies in strength and determination, but doubt, searching and introspection are also beautiful. “I am a documentary maker so I am in the business of looking at people, especially women. I am fascinated by them and in reality, I believe a woman is beautiful simply for having been born a woman.”

Below Alba is wearing Matrix dress.

Photographed by Claire O'keefe

ALBA SOTORRA

Alba Sotorra is a documentary maker based in Barcelona.  Upon completing her degree in Audio-visual Communication she hitchhiked from Barcelona to Pakistan to shoot her first film, Miradas desveladas (Unveiled Perspectives). The journey took over a year and led her to countries such as Bosnia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she filmed portraits of female artists that used art to express themselves freely in profoundly patriarchal contexts. These brave, strong women became a source of inspiration, forging her feminist conscience and commitment: “Before I made that trip I thought that feminism belonged to my mother’s generation and that we, thanks to their struggle, had all our problems solved. But that journey put me in touch with the harsh reality of women and made me realise we still have a lot of work to do.”

Alba is wearing Naturale sweater and Specchio skirt.

For Alba the feminist struggle is about fighting all forms of oppression and inequality: “It’s not just about equity: it’s about radically transforming the structures that perpetuate social inequality and that are responsible for the climate crisis and armed conflict.” 

Below Alba is wearing Ash sweater, Matrix pants and Toni scarf.

“War is devastating. I had the profound notion of what war is the first time I was in Kobane, in Northern Syria. I arrived when it was still night-time. As daylight broke I discovered I was in a city that had been totally bombed. The concrete skeletons of destroyed buildings with their rusty iron bones poking out were as shocking as dead bodies. I burst into tears.”

“The first time I went to Syria I had no idea what I was getting into. I flew to Turkey and took a bus to a village on the border with Syria. There, a group of Kurdish activists were waiting for me to guide me across the border illegally, by night. But I was not dressed for the occasion. And I had even brought a massive pink trolley that I had to leave behind in Turkey. Why didn’t they warn me we would have to cross on foot? We spent the whole night running through fields and as I had gone out in a long skirt and suede brogues, I tripped up several times. The situation caught me so unawares that I didn’t have time to feel fear. Instead I felt ridiculous: who the hell goes to war dressed like that?! A few days later I was at the front just metres away from ISIS.”

Alba is wearing Mongolia dress.

“When I met the YPJ – the Women’s Defence Units, I was fascinated by their strength and by everything they had achieved. For them, empowerment means taking control of the institutions where power is generated and feminizing them: they are an army of women that protect women’s safety and interests. Apart from fighting against ISIS, they were responsible for the Rojava revolution, whose core idea for change is women’s liberation. Freedom implies a constant collective effort.”

For her last project she has filmed she has spent two months in detention centres in Northern Syria with Western women that went to Syria to join ISIS: “It was very moving to connect emotionally with them and their families.” 

“I am interested in documentary film making because it puts me in touch with reality. It’s an opportunity to understand the world in depth and experience it in the first person. It is really necessary to look at the world from different points of view in order to get a deeper idea of things, with all their shades of grey and complexities.”

For Alba beauty lies in strength and determination, but doubt, searching and introspection are also beautiful. “I am a documentary maker so I am in the business of looking at people, especially women. I am fascinated by them and in reality, I believe a woman is beautiful simply for having been born a woman.”

Below Alba is wearing Matrix dress.

Photographed by Claire O'keefe