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Fifth Annual Athena Film Fest Celebrates Women in Cinema


As both a patron goddess of cities and of heroes, it is only fitting that Barnard, New York City’s women’s liberal arts college, holds a film festival carrying the name Athena. The Fifth Annual Athena Film Festival (February 5 - 8, 2015) at Barnard College (3009 Broadway, New York, NY) honors extraordinary women in the film industry along with feature length films, documentaries, shorts, and workshops focusing on women and leadership.

Part of the festival’s roundup of cinema is the Athena List, a collection of three to five completed scripts that have yet to be turned into films which have strong roles for women. Basically acting as a “gender conscious cousin” to the Black List, the Athena List aims to create change in the film making landscape, along with the Athena Film Festival Awards, which honors past achievements by women in cinema.

Features and documentaries include:

  • #ChicagoGirl – The Social Network Takes on a Dictator
    Armed only with a laptop, a smartphone, and her determination, 19-year-old Ala’a Basatneh is contributing to the Syrian revolution from her Chicago bedroom.
  • In the Game
    In the Game follows the ups and downs of an Hispanic girls soccer team to reveal the impact that race, class, and gender has on life opportunities.
  • Sepideh — Reaching for the Stars
    In a rural village far from Tehran, the night sky glows brilliantly, unimpeded by light pollution, and a teenage girl named Sepideh dreams of becoming an astronomer.
  • Vessel
    Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts brings much-needed abortion and contraceptive services to those with no other options.
  • Beyond the Lights
    The pressures of fame have superstar singer Noni on the edge, until she meets Kaz, a young cop who works to help her find the courage to develop her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.
  • Difret Hirut
    A 14-year-old girl is abducted on her way home from school for marriage. She bravely grabs a rifle and tries to escape, but ends up shooting her would-be husband. Afterward, a tenacious young lawyer argues that Hirut acted in self-defense.
  • Dukhtar
    is a dramatic story of a mother who kidnaps her ten-year-old daughter to save her from the fate of a child bride.
  • We Are The Best!
    Three girls in 1980s Stockholm decide to form a punk band — despite not having any instruments and being told by everyone that punk is dead.

wearebest poster 

Athena Film Fest's panels and workshops also look to aim women and aspriing film makers with know how in everything from crowdfunding management to film and television production.

Panels and workshops include:

  • Below the Line
    A conversation with several established cinematographers who will talk about the lack of women in their field, and how they broke into the “private club” and became some of the most in-demand names in the game.

  • Master Class on Directing with Gina Prince-Bythewood
    This master class on directing for film features Gina Prince-Bythewood, writer, director, and producer.

  • Master Class on Producing Film — with Cathy Schulman
    Join Academy Award winning producer, Cathy Schulman, President of Mandalay Pictures, for a conversation on producing in Hollywood.

  • Master Class on Producing Television — with Stephanie Laing
    This master class on producing for television features Stephanie Liang, Emmy-award winning producer.

“This year’s awardees epitomize the leadership and ingenuity that women bring to the entertainment industry everyday,” said Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the Athena Film Festival and Constance Hess Williams Director for the Athena Center.  “We are excited for the festival to once again bring the Barnard community and campus to life with film and entertainment fans embracing all the festival has to offer.”

To learn more, go to:

The Fifth Annual Athena Film Festival
February 5 - 8, 2015

Barnard College
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

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