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The Athena Film Festival: A Celebration of Women and Leadership

Award Winners on the Red Carpet

Melissa Silverstein, Julia Barry, Katie Couric, Julie Taymor, Kathryn Kolbert, Debora Spar, Theresa Rebeck.

The Athena Film Festival: A Celebration of Women and Leadership, announces its 2012 lineup of narrative and documentary films, as well as this year’s recipients of the Athena Film Festival Awards.  Now in its second year, the Festival runs from Thursday, February 9 through Sunday, February 12, and will take place at Barnard's Morningside Heights campus.

A production of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Women and Hollywood, the Festival boasts a diverse range of films that exemplify its mission—to illuminate the stories of courageous women who have made a difference across the globe. 

The Athena Film Festival Awards honor extraordinary women for their leadership and creative accomplishments. This year, the Festival is creating The Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award, in memory of Hollywood producer and founder of Stand Up to Cancer who died in June 2011.  Her daughter, Julia Barry, accepted the award on behalf of her mother.  In future years, the Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to a trailblazer in the film industry who sets an exemplary standard for other women to emulate.   

Additional awardees included Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball, Grey Gardens) for her exceptional talents as a motion picture producer; Julie Taymor (SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off the Dark, Across the Universe, Frida) for her vision and courage as an exemplary director; Dee Rees and Nekisa Cooper (Pariah) for their impact as an emerging writer/director and producer; The Fempire: Diablo Cody (Young Adult, Juno), Dana Fox (What Happens in Vegas, Couples Retreat), Liz Meriwether (No Strings Attached, New Girl), and Lorene Scafaria (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Seeking a Friend at the End of the World) for their creativity and panache as screenwriters; and Theresa Rebeck (Seminar, Omnium Gatherum, Smash) for her leadership as a playwright and author of films, books and television.  The Athena Film Festival Awards will be presented at the Opening Night Celebration on Thursday, February 9.

The lineup of features, documentaries and shorts that are set to screen at the Festival includes The Whistleblower starring Rachel Weisz, Wish Me Away, the coming out journey of country singer Chely Wright, Black Butterflies starring Carice Van Houten, who won the best actress award at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, and HBO’s Gloria: In Her Own Words, a documentary about Gloria Steinem.  The Lady starring Michelle Yeoh as Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi will serve as the closing film of the Festival.  

“This year’s lineup is a diverse lot from numerous countries in multiple languages: women firefighters and aviators; women who made peace, who made music and who used their “naked power” to stand up to injustice, says Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the Festival and the Constance Hess Williams Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College.  “We have been inspired as we watched so many extraordinary films about courageous women,” says Melissa Silverstein, co-founder and artistic director of the Festival and head of Women and Hollywood, an online leader in the conversation about women’s roles in the film industry. “We hope the festival will encourage more filmmakers to tell these remarkable stories.”  

View the 2012 Athena Film Festival's full lineup and buy tickets online.