Paul Feig Set to Receive First "Leading Man" Award at Female-Focused Athena Film Festival

Paul Feig - H 2016
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The filmmaker — who has long championed women in such movies as 'Bridesmaids,' 'The Heat,' 'Spy' and 'Ghostbusters' — will be the first man ever feted by the festival devoted to celebrating and honoring women in film.

Paul Feig is set to be the first man ever honored by the female-focused Athena Film Festival.

The writer-director-producer will receive the first "Athena Leading Man" award, celebrating his long-standing, outspoken support for women in film.

Feig has championed strong, funny women in his hit female-focused comedies Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy and the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot.

“There is nothing more important to me than creating meaningful, diverse and three-dimensional roles for women in front of the camera and doing whatever I can to help move the industry toward complete equality for their creative visions and voices behind the camera," Feig said in a statement. "So, to be named as Athena’s first male honoree means more to me than I can ever express. I am truly honored."

Festival co-founders Melissa Silverstein and Kathryn Kolbert added: “We are thrilled to honor Paul Feig as the first-ever male honoree at the 2016 Athena Film Festival. We feel it is crucial to recognize and honor not only the women who are breaking barriers, but also the men who support and advocate for them. Paul’s body of work is a true testament to his commitment to talented women in the entertainment industry. We cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”

The Athena Film Festival, which is set to run Feb. 18-21 at Barnard College in New York, is designed to celebrate and honor extraordinary women in the film industry. The fest highlights movies demonstrating women's leadership in real life and the fictional world. Feig will be honored on Feb. 20.

Previously announced honorees include filmmaker Mira Nair, the cast and crew of Suffragette, director Karyn Kusama, producer Geralyn Dreyfous and composer Jeanine Tesori, a Barnard College alum.