Athena Film Festival

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Athena Film Festival
Athena ff logo.jpg
LocationNew York City, New York, U.S.

The Athena Film Festival is an annual film festival held at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City. The festival takes place in February and focuses on films celebrating women and leadership. In addition to showing films, the festival hosts filmmaker workshops, master classes and panels on a variety of topics relevant to women in the film industry.[1] The Athena Film Festival was co-founded by Kathryn Kolbert, Founding Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and Melissa Silverstein, founder of the Women and Hollywood initiative and the festival's Artistic Director.

The tenth annual Athena Film Festival was held from February 27-March 1, 2020.[2]


Each year, awards are granted to individuals who have made a significant impact in their industry over the course of their career. In 2012, The Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award was created in honor of the late Laura Ziskin, a noted producer and breast cancer advocate.[3]









Athena List[edit]

In 2014, the festival announced the first edition of the Athena List, created to highlight finished, unproduced screenplays featuring roles with female leaders. The list is based on the concept of the popular Hollywood Black List, with a gender-conscious angle.[5]

Selected scripts[edit]


  • On the Basis of Sex by Daniel Stiepleman recounts Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s early years.
  • The Good Years by Rachel Feldman and Adam Prince, a biopic of Lilly Ledbetter.
  • The Sky’s the Limit: The Story of the Mercury 13 by Maria Burton, Gabrielle Burton, Ursula Burton and Jennifer Burton, a film about a group of female astronauts who were denied the chance to go into space
  • Audrey’s Run by Emily Abt, about an African-American woman running to become Boston's next mayor


  • Dickey Chapelle by Margaret Nagle, about a war photographer known as “The Patron Saint of the Marines”
  • Highsmith by Eliza Lee, a biopic of Patricia Highsmith focusing on her struggle with alcoholism during the McCarthy era and the anonymous publishing of the iconic lesbian novel The Price of Salt.
  • What the World Will Look Like When all the Water Leaves Us by Jenny Halper, based on the prize-winning short story by Laura Van Den Berg about a female scientist and her teenage daughter as she fights to save endangered species


  • "A Noble Affair" by Anil Baral and Kathryn Maughan
  • "In the Land of Fire and Ice" by David MacGregor
  • "Ride the Wind" by Denise Meyers
  • "Virginia" by Bess Wohl


  • "Claude" by Hannah Patterson
  • "Clemency" by Chinonye Chukwu
  • "Mrs. Christie" by Jamie Dawson
  • "Scott" by Anna Rose Moore

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". Athena Film Festival. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  2. ^ ""I Am Woman" kicks off Barnard's 10th annual Athena Film Festival with a celebration of feminist musician Helen Reddy". Columbia Daily Spectator. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Athena Film Festival, celebrating women, announces its lineup". 9 January 2012.
  4. ^ Sasson, Eric (7 February 2015). "Jodie Foster on Women in the Movie Business at the Athena Film Festival". Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ "These Are the Best Unproduced Screenplays with Female Protagonists".