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2014 Athena List of Best Unproduced Screenplays with Strong Female Protagonists Announced

Filmmaker Toolkit
by Melissa Silverstein and Inkoo Kang
February 12, 2014 11:00 AM
1 Comment
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We need more female protagonists. 

According to a study by the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film, only 11% of the top 100 grossing films in 2011 featured girls and women as main characters -- a decrease from 16% in 2002. This isn't just terrible news for actresses, but for women as a whole, for it represents the ongoing devaluation of women's stories, experiences, individualities, and agency at the movies, our most popular and influential art form. 

Because lists work in Hollywood, the Athena Film Festival has created the Athena List, an annual slate of the 3-5 best unproduced screenplays that feature strong female protagonists. 

Here's the 2014 Athena List: 

On the Basis of Sex by Daniel Stiepleman, a portrait of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a young woman.

The Good Years by Rachel Feldman and Adam Prince, a biopic of whistleblower Lilly Ledbetter.

The Sky's the Limit: The Story of the Mercury 13 by Maria Burton, Gabrielle Burton, Ursula Burton and Jennifer Burton, the real-life story of a group of female astronauts who were trained to go into space but ultimately denied the opportunity because of their gender.

Audrey's Run by Emily Abt, a contemporary tale of an African-American woman running to become the mayor of Boston.

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1 Comment

  • Selise Eiseman | February 22, 2014 3:20 PMReply

    Congratulations for highlighting the work of these talented women and their women-themed films! It's an uphill struggle to get the attention and support, but not impossible if we all work together to achieve this goal. As both the former Executive Officer of Women In Film (Los Angeles) and as a writer/producer of many scripts about women and a filmmaker myself (including the unproduced "Painting with Primary Colors" about postpartum psychosis after childbirth) I know first-hand that it is both about perception and achieving critical mass. Personally I know Rachel Feldman and know how hard she's worked on this project and never giving up until she makes this important film. I'm sure all of the other women on the Athena list are just as determined. Good luck to all and anything I can do to support this I will.

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