This program is for DOCUMENTARY FILMS only!

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College's Work-in-Progress Program

As part of our Creative Development Program to support women and non-binary filmmakers, the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College conducts a Works-in-Progress Program. It is an intensive pitch training and storytelling strengthening opportunity, that in addition to the training includes a live pitch in front of a panel of esteemed industry representatives, introductions to a network of potential supporters and partners, peer mentorship, and a cohort to grow with, all wrapped into a festival event.

Each filmmaker participates in intensive pitch training with Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Judith Helfand who is the co-producer of the program. This program is underwritten by Secret Sauce Media whose Founder Julie Parker Benello is a Barnard Alumna.
The Works In Progress Pitch Forum will take place Friday, March 11, 2022 (time to be determined)

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College
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 12th 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 is the festival’s founding sponsor. The 12th Annual Festival will take place in March 2022.

Guidelines and Requirements

-This program is for DOCUMENTARY FILMS ONLY

-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;

-Filmmakers who apply must not have completed more than THREE feature-length documentaries;

- Filmmakers who are women, non-binary, and gender non-conforming are eligible to apply;

-Films need to be in production or at least have some footage shot to submit to the program and to show at the pitch forum if selected;

-Projects must have a producer attached to their film in order to be considered;

-Projects that are in development without any footage are not eligible; 

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

Overall Rating
  • 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
  • Incredible people and an amazing festival to showcase your work and connect with industry professionals.

    March 2019