A Salute to Pioneers

The Athena Film Festival recognizes women leaders

By Alia Persico-Shammas ’16

The Athena Film Festival celebrated women and their leadership with an engaging weekend of films, discussions, and a record-breaking 5,000 attendees. From the feature film Suffragette to the documentaries He Named Me Malala and Code Girls , this year’s films and honorees highlighted women who are pioneers.

Director and producer Mira Nair accepted the Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award at the sold-out Awards Gala. Athena Award winners included director Karyn Kusama, producer Geralyn Dreyfous, and composer Jeanine Tesori ’83—winner of a Tony Award for Fun Home —who gave a heartfelt tribute to women who inspired her. Director Paul Feig was presented with the inaugural Leading Man Award by Saturday Night Live ’s Kate McKinnon. Barnard president Debora Spar presented the Ensemble Award to the cast and crew of Suffragette , about the lives of the British women who pioneered the suffrage movement in the early 20th century.

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