Athena Film Festival
February 22-25, 2018
Barnard College



Dear Friends: 

We are just coming back to earth after an extraordinary weekend and wanted to thank all of you for your support of the 2017 Athena Film Festival. For those of you who joined us for all or part of the weekend, I think you will agree that this year’s Festival was the best yet.  As one of our friend’s put it, we have passed infancy and adolescence and fully matured.  

A special thank you goes to our Founding Sponsor, the Artemis Rising Foundation and its founder and CEO, Regina K. Scully, as well as our Premiere Level Sponsor, Amazon Studios, our corporate and foundation sponsors, our Honorary Host Committee, and Festival Co-chairs. Your faith in us and your financial support has made the festival possible and inspired us to continue our goal -- highlighting women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world. Here are a few of the highlights from the weekend:



The Awards Reception on Friday night was at full capacity with an engaged and enthusiastic audience. We were particularly thrilled to present an Athena Award to our Festival's Founding Sponsor, Regina K. Scully, as well as director Patricia Riggen and activist-playwright Eve Ensler.  The 2017 Leading Man Award went to David Oyelowo for his work championing female directors.  Each of these awardees has an impressive track record of championing the fight for women in Hollywood; we were honored to recognize their voices and work.


At the Reception, we also announced the winners of the Athena List, an annual slate of screenplays with strong female protagonists that have not yet gone into production. Sponsored by Amazon Studios, who agreed to read all the scripts and host the writers for a symposium in June, the winners were Claude by Hannah Patterson, Clemency by Chinonye Chukwe, Mrs. Christie by Jamie Dawson and Scott by Anna Rose Moore.


We had a wonderful lineup of films this year and a host of directors, producers, and film subjects joined us for Q & A sessions. The Festival opened on Thursday night with a screening of 2015 Athena List finalist Little Pink House, a feature film starring Catherine Keener that is based on the true story of Susette Kelo, a small-town nurse who emerges as the reluctant leader of her working-class neighbors struggling to preserve their homes. This moving film was followed by a Q&A with the director and writer, Courtney Moorehead Balaker, and Susette Kelo.  

Throughout the Festival we screened 34 films, including 15 features, 13 documentaries, and 19 shorts, which received great reviews from packed audiences. Many of the screenings included Q&A sessions with filmmakers or the subjects of the films. 

Sunday evening, we hosted an inspiring and lively Town Hall discussion on how to build a new movement for social change with activists extraordinaire Gloria Steinem and Dolores Huerta, leaders from the Women’s March on Washington, Paola Mendoza and Carmen Perez, Jamia Wilson from Women, Action and the Media, and Barnard students, Camilla Puig Ibarra and Naomi Tewardos. A screening of the inspirational closing film, Dolores, followed the panel.


Of course, none of this is even remotely possible without all your support and encouragement. Please know that we are extraordinarily appreciative for all you do for Athena. We hope we can see you soon to give you the "in person" hugs and thanks that you deserve. 

Click Here for more photos from the weekend.


Melissa and Kitty


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Thank you to our Founding Sponsor: 


Athena Center Interns Have Done It Again! Check out this video created by 3 of our Film Festival Interns (past & present):


Athena Center Interns Profiled on MTVu -- watch the video! 


Athena Film Festival Sponsorship Opportunities