The Athena List is an annual script competition that selects exceptional scripts with women leaders at the heart of the story. As the central program in the Athena Film Festival’s Creative Development program, The Athena List’s goal is to raise the profile of the scripts and the writers within the industry with the purpose of getting these movies made and elevating their careers to the next level.

Over the course of seven years, three Athena List films have been released: “Little Pink House,” written and directed by Courtney Balaker starring Catherine Keener; “On the Basis of Sex,” written by Daniel Stiepleman and starring Felicity Jones; and “Clemency,” written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and was released in December 2019 by Neon.

In addition, Athena List winner “The Burning Season” by Jenny Halper will begin shooting soon, and Athena List finalist “The Artemis Protocol” by Shamim Sarif, which was turned into a novel, is now being adapted for television by Village Roadshow Entertainment Group.

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 13th 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 March 2-5, 2023.

There is NO SUBMISSION FEE for The Athena List.

Guidelines, Requirements, and Criteria:

-Screenplays 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 are encouraged

-Screenwriters of any gender are welcome to apply;

-Screenplays must be feature-length (80- 120 Pages). No short or episodic scripts will be accepted.

-DO NOT SUBMIT A FIRST DRAFT – The screenplay must be in advanced development with at least three drafts completed.

-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.

-Projects must have received creative consultation in at least two of the following ways: workshop, labs, coaching, feedback through experts including producers, executives,
managers and agents.

-Screenplays that are fully-financed and in pre-production are not eligible. They can be optioned and have producers and/or talent attached.

-Screenplays previously submitted and considered for the Athena List are not eligible.

-Scripts must be written in English;

- There is no SUBMISSION FEE

Our submission process is two-tiered: we will first review the synopsis of your script to see if it fits the criteria above; if it does, it will then be read in full. If your script does not fit the criteria it will not be considered.

Overall Rating
  • The Athena Lab has been a genuinely life changing experience. Between the expertise of the mentors and the unique opportunity to be in community with other writers, this is a chance to make genuine connections that will grow your network and develop your artistry with people who care about your story.

    March 2022
  • Nan Schmid

    I cannot say enough about the Athena Labs! I was honored with being a finalist in the screenwriting competition. I only wish I could have met the other finalists. The staff is amazing and the films I saw by fellow female filmmakers were incredibly inspiring and uplifting. It just shows us that together woman can rule the world!

    March 2022
  • Jermaine Jones

    The contest was very professionally run and the director was kind enough to email everyone about their finalist status. I was sorry I couldn’t be at event due to work. But I enjoyed entering contest.

    April 2019
  • Katherine Hayes

    This was an excellent opportunity to be a part of the Athena Film Festival with a chance to see new films and shorts, panels and education. Hosted at Barnard, it was very organised and their volunteers are the best!

    March 2019
  • If you can only participate in one festival , choose the Athena Film Festival. This Festival at Barnard College has a huge group of volunteers to help you navigate the many events including films, workshops, discussion panels with special guests and wonderful networking after parties. As an Athena List Finalist, I enjoyed meeting other finalists and winners at the Amazon Studios sponsors awards banquet. If I could give more than 5 stars for quality, value and networking, I would.

    March 2019