Pictured:  Debora L. Spar, Kathryn Kolbert, Gale Anne Hurd, Ava DuVernay, Melissa Silverstein, Rose Kuo, Molly Haskell and Diablo Cody

Pictured:  Debora L. Spar, Greta Gerwig ’06 and Kathryn Kolbert

Photos by Starpix/Kristina Humphrey

The third annual Athena Film Festival: A Celebration of Women and Leadership took place on Barnard's campus Feb. 7-10. A host of Hollywood personalities attended the opening night awards ceremony including Greenberg actress Greta Gerwig ’06 and Oscar-winning Juno writer Diablo Cody. Presented by Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Women and Hollywood, the festival featured films illustrating women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world.

“This has already become a wonderful Barnard tradition,” said Barnard President Debora L. Spar in her opening remarks. “The audiences love the remarkable films, the panels, and the robust conversations that inevitably follow. To be able to host this gathering of talented filmmakers and women leaders is truly a great privilege for the College.”

Among the works included in this year’s slate were four Academy Award nominated films: Brave, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Inocente, and The Invisible War. The lineup also included: Hannah Arendt, directed by Margarethe von Trotta, and Ginger and Rosa, starring Elle Fanning and Alice Englert and directed by Sally Potter. The documentary category includes Women Aren’t Funny, directed by Bonnie McFarlane, and I Stand Corrected, directed by Andrea Meyerson. A wide variety of shorts includes Devout, directed by Diana Neille and Sana Gulzar, Jasad & the Queen of Contradictions, directed by Amanda Homsi-Ottosson, Prizefighter, directed by Angela Wong and She, Who Excels in Solitude, directed by Mako Kamitsuna.

“We are thrilled to be honoring these extraordinary women," said Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the festival and the Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center. “The variety of films and filmmakers at the festival this year exemplified the increasing presence of female leaders in the industry.” 

“The balanced mix of films represents the breadth and depth of the festival’s mission,” said Melissa Silverstein SOA ’93, 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. “Each year we strive to select films that inspire filmmakers and industry members. This year’s slate was our strongest yet and continues to convey this focus.”

Gale Anne Hurd, producer of The Walking Dead, received this year’s The Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award. Additional Athena Film Festival Award winners included Ava DuVernay, director of Middle of Nowhere and founder of the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement; Molly Haskell, film critic and author of the landmark film book From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies; Rose Kuo, executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media.

The four-day festival has quickly established itself as one of the most prestigious of its kind. The founding sponsor of the festival is Artemis Rising Foundation, Regina Kulik Scully, CEO and founder. For more information, visit http://athenafilmfestival.com/