The Athena Film Festival is known for its feature films, documentaries and shorts that highlight women’s leadership and femininity, but for its sixth year, the organizers behind the event will be honoring a man for the very first time. The festival has announced that director, producer and screenwriter Paul Feig will receive the inaugural Athena Leading Man Award on Saturday, February 20 to recognize his body of work and outspoken support for women through his career.
Fieg, who started out as a television actor before moving into the director’s chair on classic shows like “Freaks and Geeks,” “The Office” and “Arrested Development,” is best known as the man behind a string of successful female-fronted comedies, including “Bridesmaids,” “The Heat” and “Spy.” His next feature, the highly-anticipated “Ghostbusters” reboot featuring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, hits theaters July 15.
“There is nothing more important to me than creating meaningful, diverse and three-dimensional roles for women in front of the camera and doing whatever I can to help move the industry toward complete equality for their creative visions and voices behind the camera,” Fieg said in an official statement. “So, to be named as Athena’s first male honoree means more to me than I can ever express. I am truly honored.”
“We feel it is crucial to recognize and honor not only the women who are breaking barriers, but also the men who support and advocate for them,” added festival co-founders Melissa Silverstein and Kathryn Kolbert. “Paul’s body of work is a true testament to his commitment to talented women in the entertainment industry. We cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”
The Athena Film Festival will take place February 18 – 21, 2016 at Barnard College.