Athena Film Festival Adds 'UnREAL' Season 3 Premiere and Panel (Exclusive)

Sergei Bachlakov/A+E Networks
'UnREAL'

The annual New York celebration of female leadership in film and TV will open with 'Battle of the Sexes' and close with 'The Post.'

The Athena Film Festival features screenings and panels of the upcoming season premiere of Lifetime's UnREAL, Battle of the Sexes and The Post.

The annual Barnard College showcase of female leadership in film and TV will kick off with a daytime screening of the third season premiere of UnREAL on Thursday, Feb. 22, followed by a panel discussion with star Shiri Appleby, showrunner Stacy Rukeyser and co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro.

That night, the festival will screen Battle of the Sexes as its opening night film. The movie, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, centers around the landmark tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, respectively played by Emma Stone and Steve Carell. The screening will be followed by a conversation with King.

The festival will close with a screening of Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated Pentagon Papers drama The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

Athena's centerpiece film will be the documentary Mankiller, directed by Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, which tells the story of community organizer turned Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller, who defied the odds to make a difference for her people. The screening of that film, on Saturday Feb. 24, will be followed by a panel with Mohl, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and Gloria Steinem.

"We are proud to announce our stellar opening night, centerpiece, and closing night films in addition to our special television presentation for the 2018 Athena Film Festival," Athena co-founder and artistic director and founder of Women and Hollywood, Melissa Silverstein, said in a statement. "Our current lineup showcases the diverse and exceptional work of women in the industry both in front of the camera and behind it."

Kathryn Kolbert, festival co-founder and director of Barnard's Athena Center for Leadership Studies, added, "We couldn't be more thrilled about our lineup of inspiring and diverse films this year. We look for films that continue the conversation of inclusion and equality, and feel that our newly announced films accomplish just that."

The festival also added screenings of 9 to 5, Patti Cake$, Thelma, North Country and Miss Sharon Jones. TV writer and producer Alexa Junge (Friends, The West Wing, Grace & Frankie) will conduct a master class, and the festival will also feature a panel on women in STEM fields.

Previously announced films screening at this year's festival include Wonder Woman, Lady Bird, Megan Leavey and I Am Evidence. This year's honorees are Barbara Kopple, Amma Asante, Bridget Everett and J.J. Abrams.

The eighth annual Athena Film Festival, co-founded by Barnard College's Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Women and Hollywood, will take place Feb. 22-25 in New York.