A constellation of prominent women in the film industry were honored for their leadership and creative accomplishments with Athena Film Festival Awards at the opening of the second annual event held in the Event Oval of The Diana Center Thursday evening. Those garnering the special accolades 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.
This year, the Festival presented for the first time The Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award, in memory of the Hollywood producer and founder of Stand Up to Cancer who died in June 2011. ABC News anchor Katie Couric, a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer, presented the award to Ziskin's daughter, Julia Barry, on behalf of her mother. In future years, this award will be given to a trailblazer in the film industry who sets an exemplary standard for other women to emulate.

Photo of Athena Film Festival Award Winners

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


A production of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Women and Hollywood, the Festival boasts a diverse range of films, including narratives and documentaries, that exemplify its mission—to illuminate the stories of courageous women who have made a difference across the globe. Now in its second year, the Festival runs through Sunday, February 12, on Barnard's Morningside Heights campus.
The lineup of features, documentaries and shorts that are set to screen 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, who presented the Athena Award to Julie Taymor during the Thursday night ceremony.