The Athena Film Festival
Have you noticed that Hollywood and the media tend to be gender biased? According to ET Weekly, in 2013, only 30% of all characters in the top 100 grossing films were women, and only 15% were the protagonist of the story. Yet the box office ka-chings with the sound of ticket sales for films such as the Hunger Games saga(combined earnings exceeded one and a half billion) and Alice in Wonderland ($1.024 billion) proving that a female protagonist can reel them in. In 2013, in the top 100 grossing films, films with a female protagonist grossed 20% more than films about men, reported by ET Weekly. So you can see girl leads definitely have the cache to bring in the cash. Cate Blanchett harped on the same idea during her Oscar speech and encouraged Hollywood to think differently about the formula for making successful films.
To bridge the gap between the earning power of female leads and the lack of scripts to launch films, the Athena List was created. Named after the mythical daughter of Zeus who was born in full body armor from inside her father’s head (after having it split open by his other son Hephaestus to end that miserable, unbearable migraine he was having), the Athena Film Festival was born! It ferrets out an annual slate of between 3-5 screenplays with female leaders or strong female protagonists that have yet to be made into films. Once the scripts become real films, they are screened at the Athena Film Festival.
A Celebration of Women and Leadership
According to its website, “The Athena Film Festival is the only major film festival dedicated to the depiction of women in leadership roles. Now in its sixth year, the films feature courageous and audacious women who are making a difference in communities across the globe.” Last year’s festival brought to realization a diverse range of films. Some of these included:
- Dickey Chapelle – Margaret Nagle: which tells the story of a war photographer known as “The Patron Saint of the Marines” who captured photos from the front lines from Iwo Jima to Vietnam.
- Highsmith – Eliza Lee: The story of famed crime novelist and Barnard alumna, Patricia Highsmith, and her spiral into alcoholism during the McCarthy era, when she could not put her name to the iconic lesbian novel, The Price of Salt.
- What the World Will Look Like When all the Water Leaves Us – Jenny Halper: Based on a short story by Laura Van Den Berg, this is the story of a female scientist and her teenage daughter’s obsessive quest to save endangered lemurs.
If you have ever aspired to write a screenplay with a strong female protagonist or even if you have an old one collecting dust in some back drawer somewhere, now is your chance to have it brought to life by Athena power!
The 2016 Athena List is now accepting submissions!
The Festival is now accepting Athena List submissions! Submissions must be submitted between June 1 – September 15, 2015.
What They Look For:
- Screenplays must include a strong woman character in a leadership role at the center of the story
- Screenplays should not objectify or stereotype women
- Screenplays can be written by a person(s) of any gender
- Screenplays written by women must still focus on women’s leadership
- Screenplays must be for a feature length film, 80 to 130 pages. (NO SHORTS ACCEPTED)
Important: The screenplay needs to be complete and ready for production. Do not submit a first draft.
For more info and to submit online, go to The Athena List on the Athena Film Festival site.