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2014 Athena Film Festival Unveils Program Lineup

Thompson on Hollywood By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood January 7, 2014 at 1:40PM

The fourth annual Athena Film Festival, headed by Melissa Silverstein of Indiewire's Women and Hollywood blog, has unveiled its film lineup for the 2014 edition of the fest, running February 6 through 9 at Barnard College. Check out the full program below.
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"Filly Brown'
"Filly Brown'

FEATURES, continued: 

Filly Brown

Directors: Youssef Delara & Michael D. Olmos

Run Time: 80 minutes

Language: English/Spanish

Filly Brown is an inspiring portrait of a young artist striving to seize her dreams without compromise.  Majo Tonorio, aka, “Filly Brown” is a young, raw hip-hop artist from Los Angeles who spits rhymes from the heart. With a mother in prison and a father struggling to provide for his daughters, Majo knows that a record contract could be her family’s ticket out. But when a record producer offers her a shot at stardom, she is suddenly faced with the prospect of losing who she is as an artist, as well as the friends who helped her reach the cusp of success.

 

The Hot Flashes

Director: Susan Seidelman

Run Time: 99 minutes

Language: English

An unlikely basketball team of unappreciated middle-aged Texas women, all former high school basketball champions, challenge the current high school state champs to a series of games to raise money for breast cancer prevention. Sparks fly as these marginalized women go to comic extremes to prove themselves on and off the court, and in the process, become a national media sensation.

 

In A World…

Director: Lake Bell

Run Time: 93 minutes

Language: English

Carol Solomon is a struggling vocal coach. Propelled by the hubris of her father, Sam Sotto, the reigning king of movie-trailer voice-over artists, Carol musters the courage to pursue her secret aspiration to be a voice-over star. After landing her first voice-over gig, nabbing the job from industry bad boy Gustav Warner, the real trouble begins as Carol becomes entangled in a web of dysfunction, sexism, unmitigated ego, and pride. In A World. . . brings its viewer into an idiosyncratic world where one woman fights the odds and finally finds her voice.

 

Reaching For The Moon

Director: Bruno Barreto

Run Time: 118 minutes

Language: English & Portuguese

Based on a true story, Pulitzer Prize winning-poet Elizabeth Bishop travels to Brazil and encounters the beguiling architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Initial hostilities make way for a complicated yet long-lasting love affair that dramatically alters Bishop’s relationship to the world around her.

 

Short Term 12
Brie Larson in 'Short Term 12.'

Short Term 12

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Run Time: 96 minutes

Language: English

Short Term 12 is told through the eyes of Grace, a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers. Passionate and tough, Grace is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her charge. But her own difficult past – and the surprising future that suddenly presents itself – throws her life into unforeseen confusion, made all the sharper with the arrival of a new arrival at the facility: a gifted but troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged connection.

 

Tall as the Baobab Tree

Director: Jeremy Teicher

Run Time: 82 minutes

Language: Pulaar, French

Tall as the Baobab Tree poignantly depicts a family struggling to find its footing on the edge of the modern world. Coumba and her little sister Debo are the first to leave their family's remote African village, where meals are prepared over open fires and water is drawn from wells, to attend school in the bustling city. But when an accident suddenly threatens their family's survival, their father decides to sell 11-year-old Debo into an arranged marriage. Torn between loyalty to her family and her dreams for her and her sister’s future, Coumba hatches a secret plan to rescue her younger sister from a future she did not choose.

DOCUMENTARIES:

 

The 99ers

Director: Erin Leyden

Run Time: 50 minutes

Language: English

The U.S. women's soccer team’s thrilling penalty-kick shootout victory against China that won the 1999 World Cup turned the world of women's sports upside down.  Using candid footage shot by the players throughout the tournament, The 99ers presents a unique portrait of the team that irrevocably changed women's athletics.

 

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

Director: Pratibha Parmar

Run Time: 81 minutes

Language: English

Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth offers a penetrating look at the life and art of the celebrated writer, a self-confessed renegade, and human rights activist. It is a compelling story of an extraordinary woman’s journey from her birth in a paper-thin shack in the cotton fields of Putnam County, Georgia to her recognition as an award-winning writer.  Walker’s inspiring journey is also a story of a country and a people at the fault line of historical change.

 

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

(Sponsored by Whitewater Films)

Director: Grace Lee

Run Time: 82 minutes

Language: English

Grace Lee Boggs (BC ‘35) is a 98-year-old Chinese American woman living in Detroit. A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the civil rights movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future.

 

Eufrosina’s Revolution

Director: Luciana Kaplan

Run Time: 96 minutes

Language: Spanish

From an indigenous community in Oaxaca, Mexico,  Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza is denied the right to become president of her community, because she is a woman. Eufrosina’s Revolution follows her fight for gender equality as she questions traditions and defies the chiefs. 

 

Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way – Closing Film

Director: Donna Zaccaro

Run Time: 86 minutes

Language: English

Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way tells the story of this extraordinary trailblazer who is a role model for both women and men around the world. Filmmaker Donna Zaccaro creates a moving, powerful and oftentimes surprising portrait of her mother, whose run for Vice President changed the face of American politics forever.

 

Maidentrip

Maidentrip

Director: Jillian Schlesinger

Run Time: 82 minutes

Language: English, Dutch with subtitles

15-year-old Laura Dekker sets out – camera in hand – in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person  to sail around the world alone. In the wake of a year-long battle with Dutch authorities that sparked a global storm of media scrutiny, Laura finds herself far from land, family and unwanted attention, in search of freedom, adventure, and distant dreams.

 

Miss You Can Do It

(In partnership with The Loreen Arbus Foundation)

Director: Ron Davis

Run Time: 80 minutes

Language: English

One weekend a year, the Illinois town of Kewanee turns into a place of celebration and delight, as the annual Miss You Can Do It pageant spotlights young girls with disabilities from around the country. The first Miss USA contestant to compete with a disability, Abbey Curran started the pageant in 2004 to offer girls the opportunity to be celebrated for their inner beauty and spirit.

 

The Other Shore

Director: Timothy Wheeler

Run Time: 100 minutes

Language: English

Follow world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad, as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage.  Tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities in this epic journey.

 

Rebel

Director: María Agui Carter

Run Time: 75 minutes

Language: English

Shrouded in mystery and long the subject of debate, the amazing story of Loreta Velazquez, Confederate soldier turned Union spy, is one of the Civil War’s most gripping, yet forgotten narratives. Who was she?  Why did she fight?  And what made her so dangerous that she has been virtually erased from history?

 

Regina

Director: Diana Groó

Run Time: 64 minutes

Language: Hungarian/English

Diana Groó’s poetic documentary tells the story of Regina Jonas (1902-1944), the first properly ordained female rabbi in the world. The daughter of an Orthodox Jewish peddler, she was ordained in 1935. Jonas’ sermons and unparalleled dedication brought encouragement to the persecuted German Jews during the Nazi era. She was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. Narrated by Rachel Weisz.

 

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley

(Sponsored by the Harnisch Foundation)

Director: Whoopi Goldberg

Run Time: 71 minutes

Language: English

Breaking racial and gender stereotypes, the African-American stand-up comedienne Jackie “Moms” Mabley has long been an icon in the comedy world. Once billed as “the funniest woman in the world,” she performed on stage and in television and film until her death in 1975. The film explores Mabley’s legacy through recently unearthed photography and rediscovered performance footage.

SHORTS:

 

#SlutWalkNYC

Director: Therese Shechter

Run Time: 5 minutes

Language: English

The 2011 SlutWalk march was one of the most unique feminist actions in New York history – one piece of a grassroots global movement that is both empowering and controversial.

 

30% (Women and Politics in Sierra Leone)

Director: Anna Cady

Director of Animation: Em Cooper

Run Time: 11 minutes

Language: English

Amid a violent war that has seen over 50,000 people killed, three women wage a battle for women’s representation in Sierra Leone  in this unique oil-painted animated film. From diverse religious, ethnic and political backgrounds, they share stories of secret societies, corruption, violence and sexual harassment within the world of politics.

 

A Kiss For Gabriela

Director: Laura Murray

Run Time: 29 minutes

Language: Portuguese with English subtitles

This film tells the compelling story of Gabriela Leite, the first sex worker to run for Congress in Brazil as she faces 822 opponents and challenges a male dominated political system. Can a sex worker, activist, and cultural icon beat the odds and win the election?

 

Assembly

Director: Jenn Strom

Run Time: 5 minutes

Language: English

Created by painting and drawing on sheets of glass, which were photographed and digitally composed, this film’s experimental animations contain fragments of archival footage: women walking in chains, protesting with placards, speaking at podiums. We hear bursts of words and a percussive hum—until a message is finally revealed.

 

Frost

Director: Jeremy Ball

Run Time: 14 minutes

Language: English

A young arctic hunter embarks on a perilous search for food for her family. Crossing the sacred boundary of her people’s ancestral hunting grounds, she discovers an incomprehensible world and a dangerous predator that challenges her ability to survive.

 

Haleema

Director: Boris Schaarschmidt

Run Time: 17 minutes

Language: Arabic with English subtitles

In the blistering desert of Sudan, a pregnant mother and her two young children search for water and safety from the ruthless Janjaweed militia. When her brother is too weak to continue, Haleema is sent alone to find water. A dangerous journey full of hope and despair ensues.

 

Invisible Bicycle Helmet

Director: Fredrik Gertten

Run Time: 4 minutes

Language: Swedish

Two female entrepreneurs create a revolutionary bicycle helmet everyone told them would be impossible to engineer.

 

Laal Pari (The Red Fairy)

Director: Sadia Halima

Run Time: 20 minutes

Language: Hindi/Bhojpuri with English subtitles

When Laal Pari, an illiterate woman, ran for the village council in Bihar, India, she never dreamed she would be re-elected for a second term, and be able to work for the cause closest to her heart – safety and equal rights for women in her village.

 

Miss Todd

Director: Kristina Yee

Run Time: 13 minutes

Language: English

It's 1909, as the world is waking to the possibilities of flight, Miss Todd dreams of flying but she's got more than gravity holding her down. This is the story of her determination, perseverance, and passion.

 

Out of Step

Director: Lynn Estomin

Run Time: 6 minutes

Language: English

Featuring four female veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are dealing with PTSD and the aftermath of war, these dance solos and music highlight the women’s unique voices.

 

The Red Pill

Director: Lucy Walker

Run Time: 15 minutes

Language: English

Paralympian Anjali Forber-Pratt was adopted from India as an infant and became paralyzed shortly after arriving in the US. Despite daunting obstacles, Anjali is now a PhD student and world record holder in 200m wheelchair racing.

 

Tina For President

Director: Carmen Emmi

Run Time: 14 minutes

Language: English

A shy 8th grader, Tina runs for class president against the school bully in order to stand up for her friend and herself.

 

Wild Horses

Director: Stephanie Martin

Run Time: 20 minutes

Language: English

Cruelty, courage, love and memory collide as two generations of women bear witness to the brutality common to wild horse roundups in the American West.

 

The Worlds of Bernice Bing

Director: Madeleine Lim

Run Time: 34 minutes

Language: English

Chinese American lesbian artist Bernice Bing is known for creating art on her own terms. The film illuminates her life -- from her art studio in the epicenter of San Francisco's beat scene to her groundbreaking community work in rural northern California.

This article is related to: Festivals, Athena Film Festival


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