Athena Film Festival: J.J. Abrams to Receive Leading Man Award

JJ Abrams - H 2017
(Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images)

J.J. Abrams attends the Hammer Museum's 15th annual Gala in the Garden sponsored by Bottega Veneta on Oct. 14, 2017. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images)

The 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek' director who created female-focused TV series 'Felicity' and 'Alias' will be recognized at the New York festival celebrating women's leadership in February.

Writer/director/producer J.J. Abrams will be recognized for his ongoing support and advocacy of women in the entertainment industry with the 2018 leading man award at the female-focused Athena Film Festival, it was announced Monday.

The Star Wars and Star Trek director, who will write and direct the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX, broke through when he created female-focused TV series Felicity and Alias.

Abrams "has been championing women in the industry throughout his entire career, and through his leadership has continued to push the gender equality conversation,” Athena co-founder Melissa Silverstein said in a statement.

Co-founder Kathryn Kolbert added, “At this time, it is particularly important for us to recognize men who are standing strong with women and joining our call for gender equality. He is a true ally and we are incredibly proud to have him on our side.”

Abrams, meanwhile, said, “I am deeply humbled to be recognized by the Athena Film Festival. Any good I’ve done has been achieved because I have worked alongside women, and I share my gratitude with all of them for being honored with this award."

Past recipients of the Athena leading man award include Paul Feig and David Oyelowo.

The Athena Film Festival celebrates women's leadership and, during its 2018 edition, is set to honor Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple, writer-director Amma Asante and actress Bridget Everett.

The festival, co-founded by the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and Women and Hollywood, will take place Feb. 22-25, 2018, at Barnard College in New York City.