Geralyn Dreyfous has a wide, distinguished background in the arts, extensive experience in consulting in the philanthropic sector, and participates on numerous boards and initiatives. Geralyn is the Founder and Board Chair of the Utah Film Center. In 2007, she co-founded the Impact Partners Film Fund with Dan Cogan, bringing together financiers and filmmakers to create films that entertain audiences, enrich lives, and ignite social change. In 2013, Geralyn co-founded Gamechanger Films, the first for-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to financing narrative features directed by women. Geralyn’s independent executive producing and producing credits include the Academy Award winning Born Into Brothels; Emmy nominated The Day My God Died; Academy Award nominated The Square, Academy Award nominated The Invisible War and multiple film festival winners such as Miss Representation, Connected, Anita, The Crash Reel, The Hunting Ground, Dreamcatcher and Alive Inside. Geralyn was honored with the International Documentary Association’s Amicus Award in 2013 for her significant contribution to documentary filmmaking.
Karyn Kusama wrote and directed her first feature film, Girlfight, in 1999. The film won the Director’s Prize and shared the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. In 2004, Karyn directed the science fiction love story Aeon Flux for Paramount Pictures and her third feature, comedy-horror film Jennifer’s Body, written by Diablo Cody, was released by Twentieth Century Fox. Karyn’s latest feature, entitled The Invitation, is a psychological suspense film that stars Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, and Michiel Huisman. The film won the Grand Prize at the Sitges Film Festival, among other awards. The Invitation will be released in March 2016 by Drafthouse Films.
Jeanine Tesori won the Tony Award for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for the musical Fun Home, which is currently playing on Broadway. She has also written Tony-nominated scores for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center; Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan); Caroline, or Change (lyrics, Tony Kushner); and Shrek The Musical (lyrics, David Lindsay-Abaire). The production of Caroline, or Change at the National Theatre in London received the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Her 1997 Off-Broadway musical Violet (lyrics, Brian Crawley) opened on Broadway in 2014 and garnered four Tony nominations, including Best Musical Revival. She has written operas and music for plays including: A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck and The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me, Mother Courage and Romeo and Juliet. Her film scores include: Nights in Rodanthe, Every Day, and You’re Not You. Ms. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild and was cited by the ASCAP as the first female composer to have “two new musicals running concurrently on Broadway.” She is the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center at New York City Center, and is a lecturer in music at Yale University.
Inaugural Athena Film Festival Ensemble Award
The story of Suffragette and the incredible team of women who brought it to the screen epitomize the mission of the Athena Film Festival, and these accomplishments will be celebrated with the first ever Athena Ensemble Award presented to the cast and crew. Inspired by true events, Suffragette movingly explores the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote—their jobs, their homes, their children, and even their lives. Produced by Alison Owen and Faye Ward, Suffragette is directed by Sarah Gavron from an original screenplay by Abi Morgan. The cast includes Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Cartier, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, Natalie Press and Meryl Streep.
Inaugural Athena’s Leading Man Award
Celebrating his extraordinary body of work, support and outspoken stance for women throughout his career, director, actor, producer and screenwriter Paul Feig is the first male to ever be honored by the festival. Feig has been supportive of women in the industry throughout his career, highlighting gender disparity in entertainment and casting female leads in his successful directorial efforts, including Spy, The Heat, and Bridesmaids. Feig recently completed directing the highly anticipated remake of Ghostbusters, starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. A three-time EMMY nominated writer/director and DGA Award winner, Feig is the creator of the television series Freaks and Geeks (Time’s 100 Greatest Shows of All Time) and the director and co-executive producer of The Office and has directed numerous television series.