2019 ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LINEUP OF NARRATIVE, DOCUMENTARY AND SHORT FILMS, AND ADDITIONAL PROGRAMMING
9th Annual Festival Takes Place February 28 – March 3, 2019
Festival to Open with Julia Hart’s “Fast Color”
“Knock Down The House,” directed by Rachel Lears to Close Festival
Amy Berg’s “This Is Personal” to Screen as Documentary Centerpiece;
Carol Morley’s “Out Of Blue” to Screen as Narrative Centerpiece
NEW YORK (January 9, 2019) – The Athena Film Festival (AFF) at Barnard College announced today its film slate, including opening night, closing night, and centerpiece films, as well as additional programming for the 2019 festival. The ninth annual festival, co-founded by the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and Women and Hollywood, will take place February 28 to March 3, 2019, at Barnard College in New York City. AFF showcases films, television and content that tell the extraordinary stories of fierce and fearless female leaders from all walks of life. Stories of ambition, courage, and resilience amplify the voices of strong, bold women, curating a public discourse on gender equality, and changing the cultural conventions surrounding leadership.
The festival will open on Thursday, February 28, with the New York premiere of “Fast Color.” The film, directed by Julia Hart and written by Hart and Jordan Horowitz, stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a hero forced to run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after abandoning her family, the only place she has left to hide is home. Lorraine Toussaint and David Strathairn co-star.
The festival will close on Sunday, March 3, with the New York premiere of the documentary “Knock Down The House,” directed by Rachel Lears, and featuring NY Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The film centers on a young bartender in the Bronx, a coal miner’s daughter in West Virginia, a grieving mother in Nevada, and a registered nurse in Missouri, as they build a movement comprised of insurgent Congressional candidates who challenge powerful incumbents. One of their races ultimately becomes the most surprising political upset in recent American history.
The festival’s Documentary and Narrative Centerpieces were also announced. The Documentary Centerpiece, “This Is Personal,” is directed by Amy Berg, featuring Tamika Mallory and Erika Andiola. While the 2016 election catalyzed the Women’s March and a new era of feminist activism, Tamika and Erika have been fighting for their communities for years. Their stories expose the fundamental connection between the personal and the political, and ask, how can intersectionality birth a new social justice movement? The Narrative Centerpiece, “Out Of Blue,” written and directed by Carol Morley, will have its U.S. premiere at the festival. Patricia Clarkson stars as Detective Mike Hoolihan, who is called to investigate the shooting of a leading astrophysicist. As Mike tumbles down the rabbit hole of the disturbing case, she finds herself grappling with cosmic secrets that may hold the key to unraveling the crime, while throwing into doubt her very understanding of reality.
“We are thrilled to announce our phenomenal lineup of films for this year’s festival,” said Melissa Silverstein, co-founder and artistic director of the festival and founder of Women and Hollywood. “The Athena Film Festival’s goal is to showcase the diverse work of women leaders, and this year, we have some incredible films and stories that aim to change the narrative and highlight important topics.”
The festival will feature a curated program of narrative, documentary and short films, including: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” directed by Marielle Heller and starring Melissa McCarthy; “On The Basis Of Sex” (2014 Athena List Winner), directed by Mimi Leder and starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer; “The Favourite,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone; “Jinn,” written and directed by Nijla Mu’min and starring Zoe Renee; “The Miseducation Of Cameron Post,” written and directed by Desiree Akhavan and starring Chloë Grace Moretz; “Rafiki,” written and directed by Wanuri Kahiu; “On Her Shoulders,” directed Alexandria Bombach and featuring Nadia Murad; “Whispering Truth To Power,” directed by Shameela Seedat and featuring Thuli Madonsela; “Worlds Of Ursula K. Le Guin,” directed by Arwen Curry and featuring Ursula K. Le Guin. Shorts include: “7 Planets,” written and directed by Milda Baginskaite; “Heed The Call,” written and directed by Laura G. Chirinos; “Masks,” written and directed by Mahaliyah Ayla O; and “A Woman’s Place,” directed by Jen Zhouwenyue Xu.
Over the last nine years, the Festival has welcomed more than 35,000 people from all over the world to 200+ screenings. In 2018, 46 films were screened, including 17 features, 13 documentaries, and 16 shorts. Distinguished guests such as Billie Jean King, JJ Abrams, Lena Dunham, Amma Asante, Barbara Kopple, and Bridget Everett, among many others were welcomed at the Festival.
Additional programming and 2019 honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.
The 2019 festival co-chairs include J.J. Abrams P’22, Julie Parker Benello ’92, Debra Martin Chase, Geralyn Dreyfous, Ava DuVernay, Paul Feig, Greta Gerwig ’06, Sherry Lansing, Jon Levin P’13, Katie McGrath P’22, Pat Mitchell, Sheila Nevins ’60, David Oyelowo, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Susan Rovner ’91, Regina K. Scully and Rachel Weisz.
Tickets and passes are on sale now. Please visit https://athenafilmfestival.com for regular updates and more information.
ABOUT THE ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL
The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College, is a weekend of inspiring films that tell the extraordinary stories of fierce and fearless female leaders from all walks of life – stories of ambition, courage, and resilience. We amplify the voices and stories of strong, bold women, curating a public discourse on gender equality, and changing the cultural conventions surrounding leadership. As the only film festival specifically focused on women’s leadership, the Athena Film Festival provides a forum for dialogue about and an opportunity to showcase what it means to be a powerful woman today, inspiring women and girls in the process.
ABOUT THE ATHENA CENTER
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.
ABOUT WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD
Women and Hollywood educates, advocates, and agitates for gender parity across the entertainment industry. Over the last 11 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.
ABOUT BARNARD COLLEGE
Barnard provides a singular educational experience, as a world-renowned college focused on excellence across the arts and sciences, with all the academic resources of Columbia University and the City of New York as an extended classroom. Founded in 1889, Barnard was one of the few colleges in the nation where women could receive the same rigorous and challenging education available to men. Today, Barnard is one of the most selective academic institutions in the country and remains devoted to empowering extraordinary women to become even more exceptional.
ABOUT ARTEMIS RISING FOUNDATION
Artemis Rising Foundation is dedicated to supporting projects that transform our culture through media, education and the arts. Founder & CEO, Regina K. Scully.
The Athena Film Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
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