2015 Athena Award Winners

Sheila NevinsSheila Nevins
President, HBO Documentary Films
The President’s Visionary Award

Sheila Nevins, President, HBO Documentary Films, is responsible for overseeing the development and production of all documentaries for HBO, HBO2, and Cinemax.  As an executive producer or producer, she has received 28 Primetime Emmy® Awards, 32 News and Documentary Emmys®, and 40 George Foster Peabody Awards. During her tenure, HBO’s critically acclaimed documentaries have gone on to win 23 Academy Awards® including Saving Face, Strangers No More, Music By Prudence, Smile Pinki, The Blood of Yingzhou District, Born Into Brothels, Chernobyl Heart, Murder on a Sunday Morning, King Gimp, among others. The series “Cinemax Reel Life” has featured a number of award-winning documentaries including Big Mama, winner of the 2001 Academy Award® for Best Short Subject, and Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien, a 1997 Oscar® winner. Nevins has been honored with several prestigious career achievement awards including, the 2009 Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; a 2008 Gotham Awards Tribute; a 2005 Emmy® Lifetime Achievement Award; and a Personal Peabody in 1999. In 2003, Women in Film presented Nevins with a Lucy Award for her outstanding achievements in advancing documentary filmmaking. In 2000, Nevins was inducted into Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame, and in 1998 she garnered the IDA Career Achievement Award and the New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award for Outstanding Vision & Achievement. Nevins is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  She holds a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from Yale University School of Drama in Directing.



Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer, Producer, Director

Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the widely-acclaimed feature film Love & Basketball, winning an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film. She followed that success with the HBO film Disappearing Acts. In 2008, Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the celebrated adaptation of the best-selling novel, The Secret Life of Bees. The all-star cast included Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Paul Bettany, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okonedo, and Alicia Keys. The film won two People’s Choice Awards and two NAACP Image Awards. Her third feature, Beyond the Lights, was released in November, 2014. The love story, set in the music world, stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, and Danny Glover. It received rave reviews and a rare A cinemascore. Prince-Bythewood studied at UCLA Film School, where she received the Gene Reynolds Scholarship for Directing and the Ray Stark Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduate. Upon her graduation, she was hired as a writer on the television series A Different World. She continued to write and produce for network television on series such as Felicity, South Central, and Sweet Justice before making the transition to directing. Her television directorial debut was the CBS Schoolbreak Special What About Your Friends, which won an NACCP Image Award for Best Children’s Special and two Emmy nominations for writing and directing. She also won a Community Service Emmy for her work with the Rap-it-Up campaign. Prince-Bythewood obtained her first feature film producer credit in 2003 on Biker Boyz, a Dreamworks film which was co-written and directed by her husband, Reggie Rock Bythewood. She is proud to fund an annual scholarship for African American students in UCLA’s film program. She resides in Southern California with her husband Reggie and their amazing sons, Cassius and Toussaint.


Cathy SchulmanCathy Schulman
Academy Award Winning Producer

Cathy Schulman became President of Mandalay Pictures in January, 2007. As President, Schulman is a part of an elite group of women who head self-financed production companies. In early Summer 2015, Schulman will produce the film Whatever Makes You Happy, based on the novel by William Sutcliffe. Recently, Schulman completed Horns, based on Joe Hill’s best selling novel – the film and released on Halloween. Schulman also recently wrapped Marjane Satrapi’s latest film The Voices, to be released in early 2015. Schulman is also in post production on Dark Places, based on Gillian Flynn’s best selling novel. In 2012, Mandalay produced Bernie, nominated for Best Picture at the 2012 Gotham IFP Awards and Best Picture at the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards. Previous to Mandalay, Schulman produced Crash, released in 2005 by Lionsgate. In addition to Schulman receiving the film’s Best Picture Oscar® in 2006, Crash received Academy Awards® for Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing. Schulman, who has been a consistent advocate of worldwide social causes, produced the documentary Darfur Now in 2007a film that could give a worldwide voice to those who aren’t being heard. In 2002, Schulman and Tom Nunan formed Bull’s Eye Entertainment to produce independent film and television content. Through this venture, Schulman produced The Illusionist in 2006 to great success, achieving an Oscar® nomination for Best Achievement in Cinematography.

From 1998 to 2000, Schulman served as President of Artists Production Group (APG) where she supervised over fifty projects. Other positions have included: VP of Production and Acquisitions at Sovereign Pictures,  Vice President of Production and Acquisitions at the Samuel Goldwyn Company, Senior Vice President of Production at Savoy Pictures, and President of Lobell-Bergman Productions at Universal Pictures. Most recently, Schulman began producing live entertainment shows, including the 2014 Women in Film Crystal and Lucy Awards. Active in the industry, Schulman is the President of Women In Film, a Board Member of Film Independent, and has served as a Council Member of the Producers Guild of America. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, a USC Stark Program producer’s mentor, and teaches graduate level film producing at UCLA and the Dodge College of Film Media and Arts at Chapman University, where she was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate. She has served as a judge for the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards and is a graduate of Yale University. She is the mother of one daughter and resides in Los Angeles, California.