Now more than ever, we’re seeing more minorities in fields that were once inaccessible– save for a select few who broke barriers. With politics, sports, education and more all changing, it only seems natural that the filmmaking industry is among the mix.
With that idea in mind, the Athena Film Festival was founded in 2010 by Kathryn Kolbert and Melissa Silverstein in the hopes of seeing more female voices in filmmaking. Finding itself housed out of all-women’s Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies, the festival has seen a variety of fearless female filmmakers showcasing their skills to the world.
Among previous participants honored at the festival included Catherine Keener and Courtney Moorehead Balaker, the respective director and writer of Little Pink House– a film in itself featuring a strong lead woman based on the true story of Susette Kelo vs. City of New London. Gloria Steinem and Dolores Huerta also were on a panel discussion last year concerning the Women’s March on Washington.
This year’s festival features an eclectic mix of films and events geared for every individual. Tennis star Billie Jean King will present the opening night film Battle of the Sexes at the festival on February 22. The following day, J.J. Abrams, Barbara Kopple, Amma Asante and Bridget Everett will be honored during the festival’s awards ceremony and reception.
That same night, former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, along with director Gaylene Preston will present the international premiere of My Year with Helen, Preston’s documentary following Clark’s campaign to serve as the first female Secretary-General of the United Nations. Gloria Steinem returns to the festival this year as well, speaking with Valerie Red-Horse Mohl and Gale Anne Hurd, the director and executive producer of Mankiller.
Be sure to check the festival’s website for tickets and their scheduled screenings, and check out our coverage of the festival this week.