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Amma Asante’s ‘Belle’ Will Open 2014 Athena Film Festival (NYC). Docs On Alice Walker, Moms Mabley Also Screening

Amma Asante's 'Belle' Will Open 2014 Athena Film Festival (NYC). Docs On Alice Walker, Moms Mabley Also Screening

The 2014 Athena Film Festival, which takes place in New York City, will open with Amma Assante’s lauded period drama Belle. The film continues to collect “Opening Night” honors as it travels the film festival circuit – most recently, selected as the Opening Night film for the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) earlier this month.

Fox Searchlight will release the movie in USA theaters next year, on May 22014. But if you happen to live in the New York area, here’s a chance to see it several months sooner than the rest of us. Tickets are now on sale for the film’s Athena Film Festival opening, and I strongly suggest you pick up yours sooner than later if it’s a screening you want to attend.

The Athena Film Festival honors extraordinary women in the film industry and showcases films that address women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world. Now in its fourth year, the festival runs from Thursday, February 6 through Sunday, February 9 on the Barnard College campus in Morningside Heights. Artemis Rising Foundation is the founding sponsor of the Festival.

Belle, the period drama about the trials and tribulations of a mixed-race girl, in the 1700s, stars Gugu Mbatha-RawMiranda RichardsonTom Wilkinson, Sarah GadonSam Claflin, and Matthew Goode

The story takes place in the 1780s, and is based on a true story – specifically, the true story of Dido Belle, a mixed-race woman raised as an aristocrat in 18th-century England. It follows Belle, adopted into an aristocratic family, who faces class and color prejudices. As she blossoms into a young woman, she develops a relationship with a vicar’s son who is an advocate for slave emancipation.

Zeba saw and positively reviewed the film last fall. Read her thoughts HERE.

Other notable titles that will screen at the festival include: Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth, directed by Pratibha ParmarWhoopi Goldberg’s Moms Mabley documentary, Tall as the Baobab Tree directed by Jeremy Teicher, and more.

“We are proud to announce such a diverse group of films, portraying women in leadership,” said Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the Festival. “Each year we strive to bring influential films to the festival that will entertain and inspire us all.”

“We are thrilled to welcome such talented filmmakers and a broad range of films to this year’s festival,” said Melissa Silverstein, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Festival and founder of fellow Indiewire blog Women and Hollywood. “We again present films full of talented female characters that exemplify the possibilities for a culture full of women leaders.”

Visit http://www.athenafilmfestival.com for full details on this year’s event, as well as to purchase tickets or passes.

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