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[VIDEO] TMS Attends the Athena Film Festival, a Weekend of Female Empowerment and Inspiration

Over the weekend, The Mary Sue was fortunate enough to attend and cover the Athena Film Festival, a celebration of women in film and female leaders.

In the current political moment, the festival felt especially charged as our video editor Alec Bernal and I watched short films, documentaries, and panels that filled us with anger, sorrow, and inspiration. We began the festival by speaking to awardees Eve Ensler, David Oyelowo, Patricia Riggen, and Regina K. Scully–all of whom were eager to talk about women who have inspired them on or off-camera and the importance of a women-centered festival like Athena. This set the tone of the festival–many of us have felt especially discouraged, fatigued, or incited by “Number 45,” as we called him. This was an opportunity to re-energize and organize ourselves as women and men dedicated to social justice and equality.

In panels like “Female Gaze–Is There a Female Narrative?” we listened to women filmmakers talk about the male gaze and the development that is often lacking in female characters. At a town hall with Gloria Steinem, Dolores Huerta, the organizers of the Women’s March Carmen Perez and Paola Mendoza, Jamia Wilson, and Barnard activists a room full of determined women talked about translating outrage into concrete action and ensuring intersectionality. Following that, we watched Dolores, the story of Huerta’s lifelong dedication to activism and powerful legacy which began with the United Farm Workers. Many of Huerta’s words elicited cheers and applause, and chants of “Si se puede” broke out as she took the stage–a perfect end to a rousing weekend.

We’ll be releasing more videos and coverage of the festival soon, but the festival has Facebook Live recordings of almost all their events on their page. If you’re curious, their page has everything from workshops, a session on the legal side of filmmaking, and other great resources. Additionally, if you’re looking for films to put on your watchlist, every film that screened at Athena focuses on an amazing woman–some of whom you might not even know about! Take a look the features and documentaries that aired over the weekend here.

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