This NYC Film Festival Focuses On Female Filmmakers And I Can’t Wait To Attend

athena film festival 2020
Photo Credit: Athena film festival 2019

Athena Film Festival 2020: 7 Events You Don’t Wanna Miss

“The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College here in New York City is a weekend of inspiring films that tell the extraordinary stories of fierce and fearless women leaders.” And I’m proud to say that I’ll be covering the entire thang this year as press!

When I attended The Geekly Retreat last year and decided to quit my job to become an Entertainment Writer full time and put my all into my work, I never thought I’d make it this far.

From having my review of The Photograph go viral, to attending the Frozen 2 red carpet premiere and meeting Sterling K Brown, to interviewing Yvette Nicole Brown, and meeting Willem Dafoe at the Disney Plus Togo screening after-party, and the list goes on! I really didn’t think I’d be here 3 months later!

Which is why attending the Athena Film Festival, a festival that promotes other female writers and directors means so much to me.

When I decided to take this writing thing seriously, I told myself that 2020 would be the year that I looked out for US! For millennials of color, especially Black writers, directors, actors, and actresses, etc. As well as women of all kinds in this industry!


So I’m excited, and I hope you’ll follow along on social media! Here’s my schedule so you’ll know what I’ll be attending and covering, along with what time you need to be on Twitter retweeting and liking my shit! Lol Thanks! Love you too!

My Athena Film Festival 2020 Schedule:

Friday 2/28 

6pm – 8pm – Clemency (Screening)

athena film festival 2020 - Clemency movie

Chinonye Chukwu’s sophomore feature is an enthralling story of Bernadine (Alfre Woodard), a prison warden whose years working on death row takes a psychic toll.

After a harrowing botched execution, her growing investment in the next prisoner to be executed encourages her to look more closely at her motivations and relationships and offers a tough-minded inquiry into the morality of capital punishment.

8pm – 9pm – Women as Heroes and Villains (Panel)

Building on their successful panel on Women and Horror at the 2019 Festival, this panel will focus on depictions of women as both heroes and villains in horror films and beyond and what this tells us about the current zeitgeist.

The panel will be moderated by Caryn Coleman, the Director of Programming at Nitehawk Cinema, and will include Kate McEdwards a New York-based publicist, Jourdain Searles a writer, podcaster and comedian, and Sydney Clara Brafman an award-winning writer and filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY as panelists.

9pm – 10:15pm – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Premiere)

Never Rarely Sometimes Always movie

Written and directed by Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania.

Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) embark across state lines to New York City on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery, and compassion.

Conversation with director Eliza Hittman to follow the screening. Never Rarely Sometimes Always will be in select theaters on March 13th and everywhere on April 3rd.

Saturday 2/29

12pm – 1:15pm –  Master Class on Writing for TV (Workshop)

This Masterclass on writing for TV will be taught by Valerie Woods, the co-executive producer/writer of S4 of Ava Duvernay’s acclaimed drama series, Queen Sugar.

(And I can’t wait to learn from her, right before I attempt to finish my own tv pilot script to submit to a competition in a few days!)

Woods will be joined by Ken LaZebnik, writer and founder and former Director of the Stephens College Low-Residency M.F.A. in Television and Screenwriting.

1:30pm – Finding My Way Into Animation (Workshop)

This workshop, sponsored by Walt Disney Studios, will be presented by Daniela Letiner, an animator and artist, and take us through her journey to animation.

Daniela Leitner is an Art Director and Sculptor born in the Austrian countryside. With a focus on handcrafted design, Daniela wrote, directed and crafted the animation short Late Season” which had its premiere in April 2017. Since then her strong passion for visual mixed media solutions brought her to New York where she is currently a concept sculptor for the Netflix feature project Escape From Hat.

7:30pm – 11pm – Lost Girls (Premiere) +  Photo Opp & Interviews

Lost Girls Netflix

When 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert mysteriously disappears one night, her mother Mari embarks on a dark journey that finds her face to face with hard truths about her daughter, herself, and police bias.

Determined to find her daughter at all costs, Mari Gilbert retraces Shannan’s last known steps and her discoveries force law enforcement and the media to uncover more than a dozen unsolved murders of sex workers, young lives Mari will not let the world forget.

A Q&A with director Liz Garbus, producer Anne Carey, and additional guests from the cast and crew will follow the screening.

Sunday 3/1

5pm – 8pm –  Rocks (Premiere) +  Photo Opp & Interviews

Rocks movie 2020


In east London, teenager Shola is known as “Rocks” after protecting her childhood friend from bullies. Rocks has big dreams but one day she returns home from school to discover her life is radically altered: her troubled, single mother has disappeared, leaving her responsible for her younger brother.

A Q&A with writer Theresa Ikoko will follow the screening.

For live coverage of The Athena Film Festival make sure you’re following me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and check out the hashtag #Athena2020.

This NYC Film Festival Focuses On Female Filmmakers

P.s – Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to hit the share button below so your friends can read this awesome post as well. Comments are always appreciated and responded to. So gon’ and tell me how you REALLY feel! Thanks in advance! Now click around and read something else. Lol There are lots of suggestions below!


Written by Shaye Wyllie

Shaye is an Entertainment Writer from Brooklyn, NY and a big fan of anything and everything superpowers related (especially if kids/teens are involved), cooking + baking shows (like MasterChef Junior and Cupcake Wars), teen dramas, sitcoms, comedies, and legal dramas. When she's not binging the latest series on Netflix or writing, you can find her spilling her thoughts on the Brown Side of Disney Chat or creating YouTube videos with her daughter for their new family site, Popcorn and Tater Tots.



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