The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College celebrates extraordinary films from across the globe that tell the stories of fierce and fearless women leaders. The curated program includes Academy Award nominated films, award winning features and documentaries, NY premieres, shorts, and so much more.

An Athena film is one of defiance, survival, breakthrough and radical joy that comes from living as yourself. There are many ways to be a leader and there are even more ways to be a leader as a woman. Leadership was defined, and continues to be defined by men. Athena films challenge that narrative and show how women work in and outside of this traditional definition to change what leadership looks like.

Now in its 14th year, the festival is a project of the Athena Center for Leadership at Barnard College and Women and Hollywood.

The Artemis Rising Foundation and its CEO Regina K. Scully are the festival's founding sponsors. The 14th Annual Festival will take place Feb 29 - Mar 3, 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

Films must have a woman (girl) or women character(s) in leadership role(s) or position(s).

Projects from all genres are accepted, and stories about women from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups;

Only short films can be submitted (30 minutes or less in length);

Non-English films must be subtitled;

Premiere status is not required;

Films that don’t focus on women’s leadership WILL NOT be considered;

Films that have been previously submitted WILL NOT be considered.

The Athena Film Festival encourages applications from people of all races, religions, national origins, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, and ages, as well as veterans and individuals with disabilities. We strongly encourage you to apply if you are from a marginalized or underrepresented group, particularly in the film industry.

No film will ever be turned away due to a lack of funds. If you are unable to pay the submission fee for any reason email to request a fee waiver.

Overall Rating
  • Megan Hessenthaler

    This festival was a pleasure to screen at and attend. My shorts block was expertly curated in a way that felt like we were on a lovely journey from the first film to the last. Everyone I spoke with was a true professional and film lover. It was a great experience.

    March 2022
  • Great festival! We loved that are film was in a program of films. The marketing was to notch with articles in major industry publications.

    April 2021
  • Stephanie Sandoval

    Excellent team. Although this year was virtual, it was a wonderful experience. Everyone from Athena FF was responsive, helpful and worked to make it special. Would love to be back with my next film.

    March 2021
  • Elaine Del Valle

    One of the best curated festivals I have ever attended. The spaces are beautiful and the audience is smart, Thoughtful and supportive of filmmakers. It was truly an honor to have my film at the Athena film Festival. I wish I had more time to attend every event they offered.

    March 2020
  • Danielle Naassana

    I had a wonderful experience at the Athena Film Festival. I highly recommend it.

    July 2019