Festival will honor a strong advocate for women onscreen and behind the scenes
The festival takes place February 18 – 21, 2016

New York, NY (February 5, 2016) – The Athena Film Festival announced today that director, producer and screenwriter Paul Feig (BRIDESMAIDS, SPY, THE HEAT), will receive the inaugural “ATHENA LEADING MAN” AWARD at the sixth annual Athena Film Festival on Saturday, February 20, 2016.  Celebrating his extraordinary body of work, support and outspoken stance for women throughout his career, Feig is the first male to ever be honored by the Festival.  The Athena Film Festival will take place February 18 – 21, 2016 at Barnard College.


Feig has been a champion of women for most of his career. He has proven that funny and strong women are box office gold through successful directorial efforts, including SPY, starring Melissa McCarthy, THE HEAT, starring Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy, and BRIDESMAIDS, starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Rose Byrne. Feig recently completed directing this summer’s highly-anticipated GHOSTBUSTERS, starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, which will be in theaters on July 15, 2016.


“There is nothing more important to me than creating meaningful, diverse and three-dimensional roles for women in front of the camera and doing whatever I can to help move the industry toward complete equality for their creative visions and voices behind the camera.  So, to be named as Athena’s first male honoree means more to me than I can ever express.  I am truly honored,” said Paul Feig.


“We are thrilled to honor Paul Feig as the first-ever male honoree at the 2016 Athena Film Festival,” said Melissa Silverstein & Kathryn Kolbert, co-founders of the Athena Film Festival.  “We feel it is crucial to recognize and honor not only the women who are breaking barriers, but also the men who support and advocate for them.  Paul’s body of work is a true testament to his commitment to talented women in the entertainment industry.  We cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”


Festival tickets and passes are now on sale. To purchase tickets and for more information please visit https://athenafilmfestival.com.




Now in its sixth 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. It will be held February 18-21 in NYC at Barnard College.  The Festival also created the Athena List, an annual slate of between 3-5 screenplays with female leaders or strong female protagonists that have yet to be made into films. The Founding Sponsor of the Athena Film Festival is Artemis Rising Foundation/ Regina K. Scully, Founder & CEO.



Women and Hollywood educates, advocates, and agitates for gender parity across the entertainment industry. In eight 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.




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.edu/




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.


Founding Sponsor: Artemis Rising Foundation

Regina K. Scully, Founder and CEO



“New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.”