The cast and crew of "Suffragette" will be recognized with the inaugural Athena Ensemble Award. Other honorees will include producer Geralyn Dreyfous, filmmaker Karyn Kusama and composer Jeanine Tesori.
Billed as a celebration of women and leadership, the 2016 Athena Film Festival will take place at Barnard College in Manhattan on February 18-21, 2016.
Nair made her directorial debut with the Oscar-nominated "Salaam Bombay" and has gone on to a prolific helming career. Her filmography includes "Mississippi Masala," "The Namesake," "Hysterical Blindness," "Monsoon Wedding" and the recently completed "Queen of Katwe" for Disney Studios, starring Lupita Nyong’o as a chess prodigy.
“It is an honor to receive this award, to be in the
august company of several splendid women who have paved the path before me." said Nair. "’No words — action’ was the lesson my mother taught me: as artists,
we have the privilege of holding a mirror to the world, to engage, to question,
to bring beauty to a complex universe.”
Dreyfous’ executive-producing credits include "Born Into Brothels," "The Invisible War" and "The Square." Kusama has directed the films "Girlfight," "Aeon Flux," "Jennifer’s Body" and the upcoming "The Invitation." Tesori is the Tony-winning composer of "Fun Home" and holds the record as the most prolific and honored female theatrical composer in history.
“The push for gender parity in Hollywood has gained momentum
this year. We are proud to recognize women who through their work and their
voices are changing the industry,” said Melissa
Silverstein, AFF’s co-founder and artistic director, as well as the founder of Women and Hollywood. “Celebrating an inspiring cross-section of
filmmakers and artists for the sixth year continues the Athena Film Festival’s
mission of highlighting the remarkable people forging a path for women in the
Previous Athena honorees have included Jodie Foster, Ava DuVernay,
Diablo Cody, Kasi Lemmons, Callie Khouri,
Gina Prince-Bythewood, Sheila Nevins, Julie Taymor, Sherry Lansing and Gale Anne Hurd, among others.
As previously announced, the AFF is partnering with The Black
List for the inaugural Athena Film Festival Black List Mini-Lab. Four female writers with scripts
focusing on women’s leadership will be selected to participate in the Mini-Lab
at the festival.