Paul Feig has been named the recipient of the inaugural Athena Leading Man Award by the Athena Film Festival, an annual celebration of women and leadership. The "Ghostbusters" helmer is the first man to be honored by the Festival.
Check out Feig’s ridiculously impressive filmography to get a sense of why a female-centric film festival would recognize the director, producer, screenwriter and actor. Feig’s career choices — unlike those of so many others in the industry — illustrate his belief that women are worthy of being at the center of stories. And this belief — and faith that there’s an audience for films with female protagonists — has been rewarded with commercial and critical hit after hit, including "Spy," "The Heat" and "Bridesmaids."
And it’s not just his work onscreen that testifies to Feig’s commitment to working towards gender equality in the film business. Time after time he has spoken out against sexism in the industry on- and off-screen, serving as a vocal advocate for women in Hollywood.
"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. So, to be named as Athena’s first male honoree means more to me than I can ever express. I am truly honored," said Feig.
"We are thrilled to honor Paul Feig as the first-ever male honoree at the 2016 Athena Film Festival," said Melissa Silverstein and Kathryn Kolbert, co-founders of the Athena Film Festival (Melissa is also the founder and editor of Women and Hollywood). "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. 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."
Feig will accept the award at the Athena Film Festival, which will take place February 18-21 at Barnard College in NYC. You can find more information about the Festival and purchase tickets here.