In 2022, the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Writers Lab will be back in person on the Barnard campus in Morningside Heights. The Lab is a creative development workshop for emerging women and non-binary 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 Writers Lab provides women and non-binary 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 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”, “The Writers Process”, and “Navigating Writer’s Meetings”, and keynotes from Gina Prince-Bythewood, Kat Candler, Chinonye Chukwu, and Maria Maggenti.

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Writers Lab will take place in person from March 14-16, 2022. The selected participants will also receive passes to the 2022 Athena Film Festival at Barnard College, March 11-13, 2022.

Submissions are open from November 17, 2021 – January 7, 2022.


-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, and gender non-conforming; Projects with more than one writer may be considered;

-Writers cannot have had a feature-length narrative script produced within the past 10 years; Projects must have been completed before January 1, 2012;

-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;

-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.”

-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.

All Notifications will go out by February 18, 2022.

Overall Rating
  • 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
  • Loved this festival! Great communication from the staff. The festival itself had amazing films and panels. I enjoyed my time at the festival in NYC and at the industry day in LA in August ( for the Athena List finalists/winners) and feel that the program really supports screenwriters and filmmakers.

    August 2018