The Athena Film Festival, the Women and Hollywood-affiliated event
co-founded by Melissa Silverstein,
has announced the lineup for its fourth annual showcase of works by women directors and about pioneering girls and women.
The ten narrative features on the current lineup include crowd favorites from 2013 like Lake Bell’s In a World…, Short Term 12, and Filly Brown. Athena will also host the New York premiere of Amma Asante’s Belle. The festival’s Centerpiece Film will be Decoding Annie Parker, about two women — one a patient, the other a geneticist — whose lives are changed by cancer.
The film festival will also feature eleven documentaries, many of them about female trailblazers like Alice Walker, Grace Lee Boggs, Geraldine Ferraro, Diana Nyad, African-American comedienne Moms Mabley, and first female rabbi Regina Jonas.
The Athena Film Festival will take place on February 6-9 on the Manhattan campus of Barnard College.
Read the full press release below:
ANNUAL ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LINEUP OF NARRATIVE, DOCUMENTARY AND
BELLE, DECODING ANNIE PARKER, GERALDINE FERRARO: PAVING THE WAY, THE BOOK
THIEF, SHORT TERM 12, IN A WORLD…, AMONG OTHERS
The festival runs from February 6 – 9
New York, NY
(January 7, 2014) – The 2014 Athena Film
Festival announces its lineup of narrative, documentary and short films. The 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.
The New York Premiere of BELLE, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw
and directed by Amma Asante, is the Athena Film Festival’s Opening Film,
screening on Thursday evening. DECODING
ANNIE PARKER, starring Helen Hunt and Samantha Morton and directed by Steven Bernstein,
is the festival’s Centerpiece Film, and will be screened on Friday
evening. GERALDINE FERRARO: PAVING THE
WAY, directed by her daughter, Donna Zaccaro, is the festival’s Closing Film,
screening on Sunday evening.
Among the feature films included in this year’s slate are:
SHORT TERM 12, starring Brie Larsen and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, THE
BOOK THIEF, starring Sophie Nelisse and Emily Watson and directed by Brian
Percival, and IN A WORLD…, written and directed by Lake Bell. The
documentary category includes ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH, directed by
Pratibha Parmar, REGINA, directed by Diana Groo, WHOOPI GOLDBERG PRESENTS MOMS
MABLEY, directed by Whoopi Goldberg, THE OTHER SHORE, directed by Timothy
Wheeler, and THE 99ERS, directed by Erin Leyden. A wide variety of
shorts will be featured including: THE RED PILL, directed by Academy Award
nominee Lucy Walker, THE WORLDS OF BERNICE BING, directed by Madeleine
Lim, MISS TODD, directed by Kristina
Yee, and TINA FOR PRESIDENT, directed by Carmen Emmi.
“We are proud to announce such a diverse group of films,
portraying women in leadership,” said Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the
Festival and the Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center. “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 Women and Hollywood. “We again present
films full of talented female characters that exemplify the possibilities for a
culture full of women leaders.”
As previously announced, Sherry Lansing, former Chair and
CEO of Paramount Pictures and former President of 20th Century Fox, is the
recipient of this year’s Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement
Award. Additional awardees include Callie Khouri, Academy Award
winning screenwriter of Thelma and
Louise, and creator of the series Nashville;
Kasi Lemmons, actress, director and writer of Black Nativity, Talk to Me, Eve’s Bayou and The Caveman’s Valentine; and Keri Putnam, Executive Director of the
The current lineup follows. Additional screenings,
panels and special events will be announced in the coming weeks. Please
visit http://www.athenafilmfestival.com for
regular updates and to purchase tickets or passes.
Artemis Rising Foundation is the Founding Sponsor of the
Belle – New York
Premiere- Opening Film
Director: Amma Asante
Run Time: 105 minutes
is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the
illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay, an 18th
Century British naval officer. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord
Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, but her
color prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing. Yet, Belle
uses her presence and intelligence to help inform the thinking of her father
figure, Lord Mansfield, as he deliberates the most pressing issue of the time –
the abolition of slavery.
The Book Thief
Director: Brian Percival
Run Time: 131 minutes
Based on the beloved bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the
inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the
lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a foster family in
World War II Germany.
Parker – Centerpiece Film
Director: Steven Bernstein
Run Time: 91 minutes
Parker tells the true story of two very different women on
seemingly similar paths towards ground-breaking discoveries. Annie Parker
a cancer survivor who was convinced that her illness and the illness of all the
women in her family were connected and Dr. Mary-Claire King, a geneticist, who
bucked the conventional wisdom about cancer research and discovered the genetic
link in breast cancer and the BRCA1 gene.
Farah Goes Bang
Director: Meera Menon
Run Time: 90 minutes
Awkward twenty-something Farah Mahtab hits the road with
her buddies K.J. and Roopa to stump for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential
election, hoping the trip will also be her opportunity to lose her virginity.
Crisscrossing the culturally divided nation at this decisive post-9/11 moment,
these multicultural girls find themselves and their politics unwelcome in many
parts of the country. They take inspiration from their friendship and press on
in their campaign, even as Farah’s efforts on both political and sexual fronts
are continuously thwarted.
Directors: Youssef Delara & Michael D. Olmos
Run Time: 80 minutes
Filly Brown is an inspiring portrait of a
young artist striving to seize her dreams without compromise. Majo
Tonorio, aka, “Filly Brown” is a young, raw hip-hop artist from Los Angeles who
spits rhymes from the heart. With a mother in prison and a father struggling to
provide for his daughters, Majo knows that a record contract could be her
family’s ticket out. But when a record producer offers her a shot at stardom,
she is suddenly faced with the prospect of losing who she is as an artist, as
well as the friends who helped her reach the cusp of success.
The Hot Flashes
Director: Susan Seidelman
Run Time: 99 minutes
An unlikely basketball team of unappreciated middle-aged
Texas women, all former high school basketball champions, challenge the current
high school state champs to a series of games to raise money for breast cancer
prevention. Sparks fly as these marginalized women go to comic extremes to
prove themselves on and off the court, and in the process, become a national
In A World…
Director: Lake Bell
Run Time: 93 minutes
Carol Solomon is a struggling vocal coach. Propelled by
the hubris of her father, Sam Sotto, the reigning king of movie-trailer
voice-over artists, Carol musters the courage to pursue her secret aspiration
to be a voice-over star. After landing her first voice-over gig, nabbing the
job from industry bad boy Gustav Warner, the real trouble begins as Carol
becomes entangled in a web of dysfunction, sexism, unmitigated ego, and pride. In
A World. . . brings its viewer into an idiosyncratic world where one woman
fights the odds and finally finds her voice.
Reaching For The
Director: Bruno Barreto
Run Time: 118 minutes
Language: English & Portuguese
Based on a true story, Pulitzer Prize winning-poet
Elizabeth Bishop travels to Brazil and encounters the beguiling architect Lota
de Macedo Soares. Initial hostilities make way for a complicated yet
long-lasting love affair that dramatically alters Bishop’s relationship to the
world around her.
Short Term 12
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Run Time: 96 minutes
Short Term 12 is told through the eyes of Grace,
a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.
Passionate and tough, Grace is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her
charge. But her own difficult past — and the surprising future that suddenly
presents itself — throws her life into unforeseen confusion, made all the
sharper with the arrival of a new arrival at the facility: a gifted but
troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged connection.
Tall as the
Director: Jeremy Teicher
Run Time: 82 minutes
Language: Pulaar, French
Tall as the Baobab Tree poignantly
depicts a family struggling to find its footing on the edge of the modern
world. Coumba and her little sister Debo are the first to leave their family’s remote African village, where meals are prepared over open fires and water is
drawn from wells, to attend school in the bustling city. But when an accident
suddenly threatens their family’s survival, their father decides to sell
11-year-old Debo into an arranged marriage. Torn between loyalty to her family
and her dreams for her and her sister’s future, Coumba hatches a secret plan to
rescue her younger sister from a future she did not choose.
Director: Erin Leyden
Run Time: 50 minutes
The U.S. women’s soccer team’s thrilling penalty-kick
shootout victory against China that won the 1999 World Cup turned the world of
women’s sports upside down. Using candid footage shot by the players
throughout the tournament, The 99ers presents a unique portrait of the team
that irrevocably changed women’s athletics.
Beauty in Truth
Director: Pratibha Parmar
Run Time: 81 minutes
Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth
offers a penetrating look at the life and art of the celebrated writer, a
self-confessed renegade, and human rights activist. It is a compelling story of
an extraordinary woman’s journey from her birth in a paper-thin shack in the
cotton fields of Putnam County, Georgia to her recognition as an award-winning
writer. Walker’s inspiring journey is also a story of a country and a
people at the fault line of historical change.
Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
(Sponsored by Whitewater Films)
Director: Grace Lee
Run Time: 82 minutes
Grace Lee Boggs (BC ’35) is a 98-year-old Chinese American
woman living in Detroit. A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more
than 70 years in the civil rights movement, she has devoted her life to an
evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and
its potentially radical future.
Director: Luciana Kaplan
Run Time: 96 minutes
From an indigenous community in Oaxaca, Mexico,
Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza is denied the right to become president of her
community, because she is a woman. Eufrosina’s Revolution follows her
fight for gender equality as she questions traditions and defies the chiefs.
Ferraro: Paving the Way – Closing Film
Director: Donna Zaccaro
Run Time: 86 minutes
Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way tells
the story of this extraordinary trailblazer who is a role model for both women
and men around the world. Filmmaker Donna Zaccaro creates a moving, powerful
and oftentimes surprising portrait of her mother, whose run for Vice President
changed the face of American politics forever.
Director: Jillian Schlesinger
Run Time: 82 minutes
Language: English, Dutch with subtitles
15-year-old Laura Dekker sets out — camera in hand — in
pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person to sail around the world
alone. In the wake of a year-long battle with Dutch authorities that sparked a
global storm of media scrutiny, Laura finds herself far from land, family and
unwanted attention, in search of freedom, adventure, and distant dreams.
Miss You Can Do
with The Loreen Arbus Foundation)
Director: Ron Davis
Run Time: 80 minutes
One weekend a year, the Illinois town of Kewanee turns
into a place of celebration and delight, as the annual Miss You Can Do It
pageant spotlights young girls with disabilities from around the country. The
first Miss USA contestant to compete with a disability, Abbey Curran started
the pageant in 2004 to offer girls the opportunity to be celebrated for their
inner beauty and spirit.
The Other Shore
Director: Timothy Wheeler
Run Time: 100 minutes
Follow world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana
Nyad, as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive
dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a
shark cage. Tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the
strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening
realities in this epic journey.
Director: Maria Agui Carter
Run Time: 75 minutes
Shrouded in mystery and long the subject of debate, the
amazing story of Loreta Velazquez, Confederate soldier turned Union spy, is one
of the Civil War’s most gripping, yet forgotten narratives. Who was she?
Why did she fight? And what made her so dangerous that she has been
virtually erased from history?
Director: Diana Groo
Run Time: 64 minutes
Diana Groo’s poetic documentary tells the story of Regina
Jonas (1902-1944), the first properly ordained female rabbi in the world. The
daughter of an Orthodox Jewish peddler, she was ordained in 1935. Jonas’ sermons
and unparalleled dedication brought encouragement to the persecuted German Jews
during the Nazi era. She was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. Narrated by Rachel
Presents Moms Mabley
(Sponsored by the Harnisch Foundation)
Director: Whoopi Goldberg
Run Time: 71 minutes
Breaking racial and gender stereotypes, the
African-American stand-up comedienne Jackie “Moms” Mabley has long been an icon
in the comedy world. Once billed as “the funniest woman in the world,” she performed
on stage and in television and film until her death in 1975. The film explores
Mabley’s legacy through recently unearthed photography and rediscovered
Director: Therese Shechter
Run Time: 5 minutes
The 2011 SlutWalk march was one of the most unique
feminist actions in New York history — one piece of a grassroots global
movement that is both empowering and controversial.
30% (Women and Politics in
Director: Anna Cady
Director of Animation: Em Cooper
Run Time: 11 minutes
Amid a violent war that has seen over 50,000 people killed, three women
wage a battle for women’s representation in Sierra Leone in this unique
oil-painted animated film. From diverse religious, ethnic and political
backgrounds, they share stories of secret societies, corruption, violence and
sexual harassment within the world of politics.
A Kiss For
Director: Laura Murray
Run Time: 29 minutes
Language: Portuguese with English subtitles
This film tells the compelling story of Gabriela Leite,
the first sex worker to run for Congress in Brazil as she faces 822 opponents
and challenges a male dominated political system. Can a sex worker, activist,
and cultural icon beat the odds and win the election?
Director: Jenn Strom
Run Time: 5 minutes
Created by painting and drawing on sheets of glass, which were
photographed and digitally composed, this film’s experimental animations
contain fragments of archival footage: women walking in chains, protesting with
placards, speaking at podiums. We hear bursts of words and a percussive
hum — until a message is finally revealed.
Director: Jeremy Ball
Run Time: 14 minutes
A young arctic hunter embarks on a perilous search for
food for her family. Crossing the sacred boundary of her people’s ancestral
hunting grounds, she discovers an incomprehensible world and a dangerous
predator that challenges her ability to survive.
Director: Boris Schaarschmidt
Run Time: 17 minutes
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
In the blistering desert of Sudan, a pregnant mother and
her two young children search for water and safety from the ruthless Janjaweed
militia. When her brother is too weak to continue, Haleema is sent alone to
find water. A dangerous journey full of hope and despair ensues.
Invisible Bicycle Helmet
Director: Fredrik Gertten
Run Time: 4 minutes
Two female entrepreneurs create a revolutionary bicycle helmet everyone
told them would be impossible to engineer.
Laal Pari (The Red Fairy)
Director: Sadia Halima
Run Time: 20 minutes
Language: Hindi/Bhojpuri with English subtitles
When Laal Pari, an illiterate woman, ran for the village council in
Bihar, India, she never dreamed she would be re-elected for a second term, and
be able to work for the cause closest to her heart — safety and equal rights
for women in her village.
Director: Kristina Yee
Run Time: 13 minutes
It’s 1909, as the world is waking to the possibilities of flight, Miss
Todd dreams of flying but she’s got more than gravity holding her down. This is
the story of her determination, perseverance, and passion.
Out of Step
Director: Lynn Estomin
Run Time: 6 minutes
Featuring four female veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are dealing with
PTSD and the aftermath of war, these dance solos and music highlight the
women’s unique voices.
The Red Pill
Director: Lucy Walker
Run Time: 15 minutes
Paralympian Anjali Forber-Pratt was adopted from India as an infant and became
paralyzed shortly after arriving in the US. Despite daunting obstacles, Anjali
is now a PhD student and world record holder in 200m wheelchair racing.
Tina For President
Director: Carmen Emmi
Run Time: 14 minutes
A shy 8th grader, Tina runs for class president against the school bully
in order to stand up for her friend and herself.
Director: Stephanie Martin
Run Time: 20 minutes
Cruelty, courage, love and memory collide as two
generations of women bear witness to the brutality common to wild horse
roundups in the American West.
The Worlds of Bernice Bing
Director: Madeleine Lim
Run Time: 34 minutes
Chinese American lesbian artist Bernice Bing is known for creating art on her
own terms. The film illuminates her life — from her art studio in the
epicenter of San Francisco’s beat scene to her groundbreaking community work in
rural northern California.
ABOUT THE ATHENA
Now in its fourth year, the Athena Film Festival — a
celebration of women and leadership — is an engaging weekend of feature films,
documentaries and shorts that highlight women’s leadership in real life and the
fictional world. The four-day festival, which includes conversations with
directors, producers and actors, as well as activities for
filmmakers, will be held Feb. 6-9, 2014 in the heart of New York
— at Barnard College (117th & Broadway).
ABOUT THE ATHENA
Established at Barnard College in 2009, the Athena Center
for Leadership Studies is a catalyst for the education, development
and advancement of inspired and courageous women leaders worldwide. Renowned
civil rights attorney, Kathryn Kolbert, is
the Center’s Constance Hess Williams Director.
For more information, visit: http://athenacenter.barnard.eduhttp://athenacenter.barnard.edu/
ABOUT WOMEN AND
Women and Hollywood educates, advocates, and agitates for
gender parity across the entertainment industry. In only six years, it has
grown to be one of the most respected sites focused on women’s issues and
popular culture, and its founder, Melissa Silverstein, has become a
well-respected leader on the subject. For more information,
Artemis Rising Foundation is committed to transforming our culture
through media and education. Regina K. Scully is the founder and CEO.
The idea was bold for its time. Founded in 1889, Barnard
was the only college in New York City, and one of the few in the nation, where
women could receive the same rigorous and challenging education available to
men. Today, as the world-renowned liberal arts college for women at Columbia
University, Barnard remains devoted to empowering extraordinary women to become
even more exceptional. For more information, visit: www.barnard.edu.