Let’s keep Athena Going
February 16, 2011
Barnard College debuted the first annual Athena Film Festival last weekend, February 10-13. This was one of the most successful film festivals I have attended, and I left the last day feeling refreshed and hopeful for the future of women in the entertainment industry.
Let me tell you how many ways this festival can be used as a model for every future film festival that wants to break ground in the male dominated entertainment industry. Friday night’s final film was Oscar nominee for Best Picture, Winter’s Bone, featuring a young woman forced to take control of her family in the absence of her parents. The film is filled with representations that we generally do not associate with women; a barn fight, a graveyard at night, and even a bar fight. They topped off the night with a panel after the movie with the film’s director, Debra Granik, and co-writer, Anne Rosellini. Granik is one of the 10 female directors to have their film selected as a Best Picture nominee.
The audience left that night with the ability to see a very intimate part of media–the writer’s and director’s views on making the film, finding the budget, and staying true to the story. The festival also gave us the opportunity to honor one of Barnard’s alums, Greta Gerwig, the star of the film Greenburg, opposite Ben Stiller. Athena is feminist festival whose impact transcends its target audience- the films were critically acclaimed, entertaining, and Oscar-nominated. This is a feminist film festival that brings feminism to everyone. The festival is a major move both for college campuses and for the entertainment industry. Congratulations, Barnard, for setting the standard! I hope to come again next year.