2014 Athena Award Winners

Callie Khouri

Callie Khouri galvanized women and sparked nationwide debate in 1991 with the hit movie Thelma and Louise, her screenwriting debut, which was nominated for six Academy Awards. She received the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the Writers Guild of America Award and a PEN Literary Award for Best Original Screenplay, among other Awards. Her second writing effort, Something to Talk About, starred Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid and Robert Duvall was released in August 1995. Khouri has directed two films, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which she also adapted for the screen, and Mad Money. In 2006, she collaborated with television producer Steven Bochco and wrote and directed the television drama, Hollis and Rae. She is currently the creator and Executive Producer of Nashville starring Connie Britton and Hayden Paniettiere which is on ABC.


Kasi Lemmons’ work as an actress includes roles in Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs opposite Jodie Foster, John Woo’s first American film, Hard Target, Spike Lee’s School Days, and Vampire’s Kiss with Nicolas Cage. Lemmons is also an award-winning director. Her first feature-length film, Eve’s Bayou, became the highest grossing independent film of 1997. Lemmons received a special first time director award from the National Board of Review and the “Director’s Achievement Award” at the 1998 Nortel Palm Springs Film Festival. Her feature Talk to Me, starring Don Cheadle, was released  in July 2007  and received the 2008 NAACP Image Award for outstanding directing.  Her recent film based on Langston Hughes’ musical, Black Nativity was released in November 2013. Upcoming projects include an adaption of On Beauty based on the novel by Zadie Smith.For the past 12 years she has been a board member of Film Independent, and continues to serve as an advisor for the Sundance Screenwriter and Filmmaker Labs.



As Executive Director, Keri Putnam oversees all programs at the Sundance Institute, including the Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Sundance Film Festival. She is also responsible for expanding the Institute’s international work and initiating strategic partnerships. In addition, Putnam leads Institute initiatives to provide independent filmmakers with access to digital distribution through the Artist Services program and to identify and lessen roadblocks for women in the independent sector via the Women Filmmakers Initiative. Previously, Putnam served as president of production for Miramax Films, and was EVP of HBO Films.