Athena Film Festival Celebrates Women in Film Industry

New York, NY – Athena Film Festival last honored Amma Asante, Bridget Everett and J.J. Abrams who was honored with Athena Leading Man Award at the annual awards presentation that they held last night.

The Athena Film Festival Awards recognize extraordinary women for their leadership and creative accomplishments in the film industry.

J.J. Abrams
Photo by Emerson Unger/MUSE

Abrams stopped with us on the red carpet prior to the event and we asked him about #MeToo and the women’s movement. He said, “I think that for women the revolution that we are witnessing or experiencing is something that is driven not just by a desire to need safety and equity at every level but creativity we are all desperate for the voices of those who have not been heard the voices of fight the voices of Oppression the voices of overcoming obstacles every great story I can think of has a battle in it somewhere whether it’s literal or figurative I think those voices are needed now more than ever.”

He added, “The people that should be hired the people who are winning the awards it’s all happening slower than anyone wants but it is happening I think the message for men is look in the places that you might look normally because these people are there not only can they be hired but they should be hired and it is possible and it’s something that we’re working on at Bad Robot I’m no expert in anything and I but I know it takes a little bit more time sometimes we have to find the people who are not only just as hard working and hungry.”

When asked about the his Abrams company Bad Robot about hiring he said, “In the hiring at Bad Robot half of our department heads are female, 40% of our employees are people of color we are working hard to make those numbers better those are the kind of things that we are doing.”

Film Director Barbara Kopple honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the festival said, “I think we’re really moving forward my first film was Harlan County USA and people would say why is a little girl like you want to make a film Leica film like this and now I think the documentaries are the Golden Age they sell out at film festivals and people want a sense of truthfulness that’s really important.”

Koppel also gave some advice about entering the business, “You have to have a lot of perseverance and you have to have people who really work with you and help you and the people I work with are so wonderful they always have my back.”

Co-Founder of the Athena Film Festival, Kathryn Kolbert said about the film festival she started, “From the beginning we wanted to show the wide diversity of women making a difference in the world exhibiting their power their power their influence and their leadership but more importantly showing them in a variety circumstances and life activity so this year we continued on that vain we had a number of larger movies as well this year ladybird and the post both coming Moana is here we’ve got Wonder Woman here so I think as always we just want to show women in a whole variety rolls and circumstances.”

When we asked her how real change in the film industry can happen Kolbert said, “it’s all about power studios. It’s all about making Studios and film companies understand that 50% of their audience, 52% of the people who buy the tickets to their movies are women and they can’t always tell one story. They got to tell stories that reflect the diversity of the world.”

The Athena Film Festival concludes tomorrow February 25 with a festival closing presentation of the Steven Spielberg directed film, The Post.

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Emerson Unger

Emerson Unger is a producer for MUSE TV out of New York. She is an accomplished individual in the field working with such media outlets as Associated Press, MTV News and E! Online to name a few. Unger is a lover of movie's and Korean Pop Music.

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