My favorite spring event at Barnard is the Athena Film Festival, which celebrates film portrayals of women in leadership roles. This year, there are a bunch of great movies, shorts, documentaries, and panels on the schedule that feature strong, complex, and overall pretty awesome women who work in front of or behind the camera. It is apparent to even the most casual watcher viewer of American movies that there is a serious gender imbalance; only one in three women in these films hold speaking roles, and 78% of the protagonists are men. Behind the camera, the picture is pretty bleak too: 16% of all directors are women, and the proportion of female writers, cinematographers, and executive producers are not only similarly low, but have even shrunk since 1998. (The Celluloid Ceiling, an annual report on women in the film industry, found here has even more information). The Athena Film Festival is a great way to get to see stories about women that aren’t infuriatingly one-dimensional and meet the people behind the films. There are classes, panels, and workshops with lots of women prominent in the film industry like Debra Martin Chase (producer of The Princess Diaries, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and more), Callie Khouri (producer of the TV series Nashville and writer of Thelma and Louise), Laura Karpman (an four-time Emmy award-winning music composer), and Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Laureate. Overall, it seems like a great way to spend the weekend – more information about the movies can be found here!
These are a few films that peer eds recommend/ are interested in seeing:
Filly Brown: Filly Brown is an inspiring portrait of a young artist striving to seize her dreams without compromise.
Rebel: 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 forgotten narratives. Who was she? Why did she fight? And what made her so dangerous she has been virtually erased from history?
In a World: In A World… brings its viewer into an idiosyncratic world where one woman fights the odds and finally finds her voice.
Farah Goes Bang: Awkward twenty-something Farah Mahtab hits the road with her buddies K.J. and Roopa to stump for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, hoping the trip will also be her opportunity to lose her virginity.
The Book Thief: Based on the bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany.
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs: 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.