Athena Film Festival, a public film confab spotlighting works by and about women, will launch this year’s edition with the New York premiere of Dawn Porter’s Trapped, a documentary about Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, like those recently passed in Texas and Alabama, that threaten American abortion clinics, allegedly due to concerns over women’s safety and health. As clinics are forced to shut their doors, supporters of abortion rights believe the real purpose of the laws is to outlaw abortion.
Featuring fiction, documentaries and short films,the festival runs February 18-21 on the Morningside Heights campus of Barnard College. The festival honors “extraordinary women in the entertainment industry and spotlights films that showcase women’s courage, power and influence in real life and the fictional world,” according to the festival lineup announced today.
The Centerpiece film will be Suffragette, directed by Sarah Gavron and starring Carey Mulligan. The festival will close with the documentary Codegirl, directed by Lesley Chilcott, about the “Technovation Challenge,” an international competition to inspire girls ages 10-18 to learn coding and other technological skills. From rural Moldova to urban Brazil to suburban Massachusetts, Codegirl follows teams who dream of holding their own in the world’s fastest-growing industry.
Among the feature films included in this year’s lineup are Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page and directed by Peter Sollett; Testament Of Youth, starring Alicia Vikander and directed by James Kent; and the just-Oscar-nominated Mustang, the debut feature from French director Deniz Gamze Ergüven.
At this year’s Athena Film Festival, Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films, will launch a three-part master class on documentary filmmaking. Other programs will include a master class with composer Jeanine Tesori (Broadway’s Fun Home), an Athena List Reading of The Burning Season and panels for filmmakers.
“This unique festival showcases the stories of courageous and audacious women who are making a difference in their lives and communities. By celebrating women from across the globe, we offer a new, more inclusive vision of leadership and help young women see who they can be” said Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the festival, and Constance Hess Williams, Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College.
As previously announced, prolific filmmaker and activist Mira Nair will receive this year’s Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award. Additional awardees include producer Geralyn Dreyfus, director Karyn Kusama and composer Jeanine Tesori, as well as an ensemble award to the cast and crew of Suffragette.