Athena Film Festival to Honor David Oyelowo, 'Vagina Monologues' Writer Eve Ensler

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Writer-director-producer Patricia Riggen and producer and Artemis Rising CEO Regina K. Scully also will be honored at the 2017 edition of the female-focused festival.

David Oyelowo and Vagina Monologues writer Eve Ensler are among those set to be honored at the 2017 Athena Film Festival.

The event, which celebrates female leadership, also will recognize writer-director-producer Patricia Riggen and producer and Artemis Rising CEO Regina K. Scully.

Oyelowo will receive the 2017 Leading Man Award, with the inaugural edition of that prize going to Paul Feig in 2016.

The actor, who currently is appearing onstage in New York in Othello, will next be seen starring opposite Rosamund Pike in Amma Asante's A United Kingdom, which is set to hit theaters Feb. 10. Oyelowo's past credits include Selma and Queen of Katwe, on which he worked with past Athena honorees Ava DuVernay and Mira Nair, respectively.

Ensler is the Tony Award-winning playwright, activist, performer and author of The Vagina Monologues. Riggen's credits include Jennifer Garner-starrer Miracles From Heaven and Chilean miners drama The 33. Scully has executive produced more than 100 social justice films, with her credits including such documentaries as The Invisible War, The Eagle Huntress, The Hunting Ground, Newtown, Fed Up and Dreamcatcher. Scully also is founding sponsor of the Athena Film Festival and founder of the Artemis Rising Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to developing and promoting media, education and the arts that transform culture.

“We are thrilled to highlight four individuals who are shining examples of empowering women in the industry and are role models in their fields,” Athena Film Festival co-founded Melissa Silverstein said Wednesday in a statement. “We are delighted to add these names to the festival’s prestigious list of honorees, which shines a spotlight on the remarkable progress and the ongoing battles of women in the entertainment industry.”

Added Athena co-founder Kathryn Kolbert: “Our 2017 Athena Film Festival honorees celebrate an incredible group of people whose work promotes the advancement of women in film. We are grateful to be giving our second Athena Leading Man Award to David Oyelowo. We feel it is crucial to highlight the men who support women in the industry.”

The seventh annual edition of the Athena Film Festival is set to run Feb. 9-12 at New York's Barnard College.

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