Athena Film Festival: HBO's Sheila Nevins, Director Gina Prince-Bythewood Among Honorees

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Sheila Nevins

The fifth annual Barnard College-set celebration of women and leadership also will honor Oscar-winning producer and Mandalay Pictures president Cathy Schulman

HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins, writer-director-producer Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights) and Oscar-winning producer and Mandalay Pictures president Cathy Schulman will be honored at the 2015 Athena Film Festival, it was announced Wednesday.

Nevins, Prince-Bythewood and Schulman, whose credits include Crash, The Illusionist and Bernie, will receive the fifth annual festival's awards, which honor members of the film industry for their leadership and creative accomplishments.

"This year's awardees epitomize the leadership and ingenuity that women bring to the entertainment industry every day," Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the Athena Film Festival and Constance Hess Williams Director for the Athena Center, said in a statement. "We are excited for the festival to once again bring the Barnard community and campus to life with film and entertainment fans embracing all the festival has to offer."

The Athena Film Festival, presented by Barnard College's Athena Center for Leadership Studies, is designed to celebrate and honor extraordinary women in the film industry and will take place on Barnard's Morningside Heights campus from Feb. 5-8, 2015. The festival highlights movies demonstrating women's leadership and features screenings, master classes and Q&A panels, with the full lineup set to be released in January.

"We are thrilled to reveal the women we are honoring at this year's festival and look forward to announcing the full slate right after the new year," fest co-founder and artistic director Melissa Silverstein said in a statement. "As a festival, we continue to raise the visibility of accomplished women in the industry and create a four-day celebration of work that highlights women's leadership in ways that are courageous and thought-provoking."

Festival co-chair and founding sponsor Regina K. Scully added: "We could not be more proud to see the festival celebrate its fifth year shining a light on women as creative, inspirational and essential pillars of the entertainment industry. As founding sponsor, we are privileged to have seen the festival grow and to continue participating in what is certain to be one of the most dynamic programs to date."

This year's event also will mark the return of the Athena List, called the "gender conscious cousin" of The Black List, which highlights three to five completed screenplays with strong leading female characters that have yet to be made into films.

More information about the festival is available here.

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