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 11th year, the festival is a project of the Athena Center for Leadership at Barnard College and Women and Hollywood. This year, we’re expanding our short film programming to include programs such as STEM shorts, First Time Filmmakers, Quarantine Shorts, etc.

The Artemis Rising Foundation and its CEO Regina K. Scully is the festival’s founding sponsor.

We hope that we will be able to be together in person for the The 11th Annual Festival from February 18 - February 21, 2021 at Barnard College in New York City. We are monitoring the situation and will make adjustments in line with public health recommendations.

This year, to ensure BIWOC voices are amplified at our festival and in recognition of the extra barriers BIWOC artists face in the film industry, we are offering submission fee waivers to films written, directed or produced by BIWOC artists.

We are also offering submission fee waivers to films that have suffered financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please visit to find forms to request a submission fee waiver.

Guidelines and Requirements:

- 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 of any gender are welcome to apply;
- Only short films can be submitted (under 40 minutes in length);
- Non-English films must be subtitled;
- Films that don’t focus on women leadership WILL NOT be considered;
- Premiere status is not required;
- Films that have screened virtually or are available online due to COVID-19 are eligible.

Please note: Submission fees are non-refundable.

If you have a feature-length film that you would like to submit to the festival, please email with the title of your film, a full synopsis, and how it fits our criteria.

Overall Rating
  • 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