This past week, Barnard College hosted the fourth annual 2014 Athena Film Festival. The festival, which took place Thursday, February 6 through Sunday, February 9, honored extraordinary women in the film industry and showcased films that address women's leadership in real life and the fiction world.
This year’s Athena Awards were presented at a red-carpet celebration honoring accomplished women in the film industry. Sherry Lansing, former Chair and CEO of Paramount Pictures and former President of 20th Century Fox, received the 2014 Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award. Additional awardees included Callie Khouri, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Thelma and Louise and creator of the television series Nashville; Kasi Lemmons, actress, director and writer of Black Nativity, Talk to Me, Eve’s Bayou and The Caveman’s Valentine; and Keri Putnam, Executive Director of the Sundance Institute.
The Athena List—a new feature of this year’s festival—was also announced during the awards ceremony. The list, which highlights completed screenplays with strong leading female characters that have yet to be made into films, is an effort to advocate for an increase in female protagonists on screen. The inaugural list includes On the Basis of Sex, by Daniel Stiepleman; The Good Years, by Rachel Feldman and Adam Prince; The Sky’s the Limit: The Story of the Mercury 13, by Maria Burton, Gabrielle Burton, Ursula Burton and Jennifer Burton; and Audrey’s Run, by Emily Abt.
Among the more than 30 feature, documentary, and short films screened during this year’s festival, highlights of the lineup included the New York premiere of BELLE, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and directed by Amma Asante, which was the Athena Film Festival’s opening film on February 6. DECODING ANNIE PARKER, starring Helen Hunt and Samantha Morton and directed by Steven Bernstein, was the festival’s centerpiece film on February 7. GERALDINE FERRARO: PAVING THE WAY, directed by her daughter, Donna Zaccaro, was the festival’s closing film on February 9.
Visit the Athena Film Festival website to read more about this year’s festival.
Check out this great sing-along to "Let it Go" from Frozen, sung by local Girl Scouts in the audience!