This lineup is the culmination of months of work by a team of people and I must give a shout out to the amazing interns who are dedicated to Athena this year -- Julia Kennedy and Charlie Gillette -- who have been working with me since last spring.
Here's how we come up with the lineup. We watch a ton of movies -over 200. We go to festivals. We get people to make recommendations, we get submissions and we track films that are in other festivals around the world that we will never get to.
The Athena Film Festival is unique in that is shows films directed by men and women all on the theme of women's leadership. We have films released by studios, films that have played other festivals and films that have never yet been seen.
As you may know I am the co-founder and Artistic Director of the festival. My co-founder Kitty Kolbert and the rest of the amazing small but dedicated team of people who work on the festival are beyond impressed with the level of films and are humbled by the continued growing interest in the festival.
Our goal is to create a cultural conversation about the importance of women's leadership in our world. We believe that women need to be a part of leadership at all levels in all industries and that movies give us a unique opportunity to enter into the conversation.
I would to see as many of you as can make it to NY, and if you live in NY you must come. Single tickets have just gone on sale. Readers of Women and Hollywood can still buy an all-access pass for the festival at the discounted rate of $50. Click here and use this code: AFFAAP13
You will hear much more about the festival in the coming weeks.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the lineup.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Run Time: 93 minutes
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl is in balance with the universe, until a fierce storm changes her reality. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, and desperate to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes. Hailed as one of 2012’s most original films, Beasts of the Southern Wild appeared on many critics year-end top 10 lists.
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Run Time: 100 minutes
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.
Director: Regan Hall
Run Time: 91 minutes
When a sassy streetwise runner meets an ambitious, wealthy competitor, their two worlds collide with explosive results. As the fast girls strive to qualify for the World Championships, they battle adversity and rivalry on a dramatic, heartwarming and inspirational journey.
Director: Jenny Deller
Run Time: 100 minutes
Abandoned by her single mom, a teenaged girl becomes obsessed with ecological disaster, forcing her and her grandmother, a functioning alcoholic, to rethink their futures. Inspired by a New Yorker article on global warming, Future Weather uses the refuge of science and the environment as a backdrop as the two women learn to trust each other and leap into the unknown.
Ginger and Rosa
Director: Sally Potter
Run Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis: London, 1962. Two teenage girls - Ginger and Rosa - are inseparable. They discuss religion, politics, and hairstyles, and dream of lives bigger than their mothers'. But, as the Cold War meets the sexual revolution, and the threat of nuclear holocaust escalates, the lifelong friendship of the two girls is shattered -- by a clash of desire and the determination to survive.
Director: David Riker
Run Time: 90 minutes
Language: English, Spanish with English subtitles
Emotionally distraught from losing custody of her son and running out of options to earn a living to win him back, single mother Ashley (Abbie Cornish) becomes desperate when she loses her job at a local Austin megastore. So when the risky opportunity arises to become a coyote—smuggling illegal immigrants over the Texas border—she takes it. The harrowing experience results in unforeseen rewards and consequences, as Ashley forges an intense bond with a young Mexican girl who forces her to confront her past, accept the mistakes she's made, and look to the future.
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Run Time: 113 minutes
Language: English, German with English subtitles
Hannah Arendt is a portrait of the genius that shook the world with her discovery of “the banality of evil.” After she attends the Nazi Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem, Arendt dares to write about the Holocaust in terms no one has ever heard before. Her work instantly provokes a furious scandal, and Arendt stands strong as she is attacked by friends and foes alike. But as the German-Jewish émigré also struggles to suppress her own painful associations with the past, the film exposes her beguiling blend of arrogance and vulnerability — revealing a soul defined and derailed by exile.
Middle of Nowhere
Director: Ava DuVernay
Run Time: 97 minutes
When her husband, Derek, is sentenced to eight years in a California prison, Ruby drops out of medical school to focus on ensuring Derek's survival in his violent new environment. Driven by love, loyalty, and hope, Ruby learns to sustain the shame, separation, guilt, and grief that a prison wife must bear. Her new life challenges her identity, and propels her in new, often frightening directions of self-discovery. Winner of Best Director Award at 2012 Sundance Film Festival and Best Actor at the 2012 Gotham Awards.