The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab is a creative development workshop for emerging women writers. Applicants must submit a screenplay that includes a woman or women characters in a leadership role or position at the center of the story. Scripts must be feature-length narratives (between 80 - 120 pages). Eligible writers have not had a feature-length narrative script produced within the past 10 years.

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab provides women storytellers with creative feedback, pitch training, and a robust supportive network. Participants will have multiple one-on-one mentoring sessions with experienced screenwriters and industry experts, as well as participate in peer-to-peer sessions.
The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab will also include industry events where participants will learn about how to navigate their careers, as well as a keynote conversation from an established filmmaker. Past panels topics have included: “How Representation Works”, “Path to Writing”, and “The Art of Pitching”, and keynotes from Gina Prince-Bythewood, Kat Candler, and Chinonye Chukwu.

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab will take place remotely on September 20 - 22, 2021.

Rules & Terms
-Scripts 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;
-Writers who are women, non-binary, or gender non-conforming are eligible to apply; Projects with more than one writer may be considered as long as all writers identify as women, non-binary, or gender non-conforming;
-Writers cannot have had a feature-length narrative script produced within the past 10 years;
-Scripts must be written in English (although films may be produced in a foreign language) and should be 80 to 120 pages long;
-If chosen as a finalist, you will be asked to submit the answers to additional questions;
-If you have been on the Athena List, you can submit a project, but it CANNOT be a script that was on the Athena List;
-If you have previously attended the lab, you cannot reapply for five years, but if you have been a part of the TV lab, you can submit a project to the Screenwriters lab and vice-versa;
-Submissions must be the original work of the entrant(s) and may not be based, in whole or in part, on any other fiction or nonfiction material, published or unpublished, produced
or unproduced. Entries may, however, be adapted for the entrant’s (or entrants’) original
work, which should be noted in the logline required on the application form. Entries
lacking a logline on the application form will be disqualified.
-If the script is based on a true story, historical or contemporary, this must be noted in the logline required on the application form with the phrase “based on true story/events."
- All Notifications will go out by August 24.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • The most amazing, supportive, creative experience - I HIGHLY recommend it to any screenwriter, new or experienced. Very well organized and executed, very helpful in all aspects of your craft - and FUN!

    June 2019
  • Jane Therese

    This was an amazing experience.

    June 2019
  • Heather Upton

    An amazing lab experience! Thoughtful, well organized, nurturing, engaging and effective. It was a fantastic experience and I came away both inspired and with tons of practical advice. I can't say enough good things about the Athena Lab, and Nitza and Elizabeth, who run it. Definitely apply!

    March 2019
  • Bridget Bell McMahon

    This lab was a profound experience. The fiercely creative women at its helm (Melissa, Kitty, Nitza, Elizabeth and Kristin) should run the world. Thank you to all involved. This supportive, encouraging, inspiring program was a gift.

    July 2018