Back in November we got stoked on the third annual Athena Film Festival coming to New York this February. Now we’re extra stoked because the lineup has finally been released! In case you missed our post about this year’s festival, the Athena Film Festival is an event dedicated to exploring female leadership. Leading ladies on and off screen come together to raise questions about what it means to be a leader, in reality and in the fictional realm. That means unique workshops, inspiring speakers, and of course, tons of films! From documentaries to feature films to shorts, Athena’s got the goods you’ve been craving all year. The festival will be held at Barnard College in Morningside on February 7th-10th. So here are some selections that we want to check out and thought you might, too.
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.
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: Roselyn Bosch
Run Time: 115 minutes
Language: French, German, Yiddish with English subtitles
This film is the story of the infamous Vel’ d’Hiv roundup in 1942 when French police carried out an extensive raid on Jews in greater Paris, resulting in the arrest of more than 13,000 people — including 4,000 children. Told from the perspective of the children and the nurse who cared for them, this is an emotionally astute and sensitive exploration of a long taboo subject in France -- one that caused former French President Jacques Chirac to issue a public apology in 1995.
WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
Director: Kristy Guevera-Flanagan
Run Time: 62 minutes
Tracing the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman and superheroines in film from the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, WONDER WOMEN! examines how popular representations of women reflect society’s anxieties about women’s power and liberation. Goes behind the scenes with Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, comic writers and artists, and real life superheroines as well.
Women Aren’t Funny
Director(s): Bonnie McFarlane
Running Time (in minutes): 78 mins
Female comedian Bonnie McFarlane sets out along with fellow comedian and husband Rich Vos (and their adorable 3 year old) to find out once and for all if women are funny and report her unbiased findings in this important documentary film. Working around stand up gigs, quarrelling with her husband and parenting their daughter, Bonnie manages to squeeze in interviews with a wide range of comedians, club owners, talent bookers and writers about why there remains such a pervasive, negative stereotype about women in comedy.
Granny’s Got Game
Director: Angela Alford
Run Time: 74 minutes
Granny's Got Game tells the story of six fiercely competitive women in their seventies who battle physical limitations and skepticism to keep doing what they love. The film follows the inspiring women for a year as they compete for another National Senior Basketball Games Championship.
Self-Portrait with Cows Going Home and Other Works: A Portrait of Sylvia Plachy
Director: Rebecca Dreyfus
Run Time: 10 minutes
A film portrait of photographer Sylvia Plachy, perhaps best known for her weekly pictures in the Village Voice, explores her celebrated work that spans more than four decades and includes publication in numerous magazines and books. Plachy’s son, actor Adrien Brody, contributes a delightful score.
Director: Phil Cox
Run Time: 3 minutes
Record-breaking English sailor Hilary Lister, a quadriplegic since age 15, and her friends smash up and cannibalize a wheel chair, some metal pipes and a few electric circuit boards. The result is a unique, technical invention that leads her to conquer the oceans of the world and set her spirit free.
Who is Pauline Park?
Director: Jamerry Kim
Run Time: 12 minutes
Pauline Park is a Korean-American adoptee, a transgendered woman, and a human rights activist. Yearning to belong, she has been tracing the genealogical roots of her adoptive parents, helping her, and us as well, better understand how our identities can both define and betray us at the same time.
As great as these sound, this doesn’t even begin to cover all of your options at the Athena Film Festival. Read the rest of the lineup over here and buy your tickets to the festival way over here! UPDATE: Athena is now offering BUST readers a special discount! Just enter code BUSTAFF21 at checkout to receive a discount on any full-priced individual film ticket to bring the price from $12 to $10! SWEET DEAL$!
Photos via athenafilmfestival.com, photonola.org, filmschoolrejects.com, and smellslikescreenspirit.com.