filmmaker Mira Nair

Filmmaker and activist Mira Nair (pictured above) will receive The Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Athena Film Festival taking place February 18 to 21, 2016 at Barnard College in New York City. Additional awardees include producer Geralyn Dreyfous, director Karyn Kusama, and composer Jeanine Tesori (BC ’83). The Athena Film Festival is also will also honor the cast and crew of SUFFRAGETTE with the inaugural Athena Ensemble Award.

Mira Nair’s debut film SALAAM BOMBAY was nominated for an Academy Award. Nair also directed MISSISSIPI MASALA, VANITY FAIR, THE NAMESAKE, Golden Globe® and Emmy Award- winning HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS, MONSOON WEDDING, and THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST. She recently completed QUEEN OF KATWE for Disney Studios.

“It is an honor to receive this award, to be in the august company of several splendid women who have paved the path before me. “No words – action” was the lesson my mother taught me: as artists, we have the privilege of holding a mirror to the world, to engage, to question, to bring beauty to a complex universe.”

The story of SUFFRAGETTE and the incredible team of women who brought it to the screen epitomize the mission of the Athena Film Festival, and these accomplishments will be celebrated with the first ever Athena Ensemble Award presented to the cast and crew. Inspired by true events, SUFFRAGETTE movingly explores the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote—their jobs, their homes, their children, and even their lives. Produced by Alison Owen and Faye Ward, SUFFRAGETTE is directed by Sarah Gavron from an original screenplay by Abi Morgan. The cast includes Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Cartier, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, Natalie Press and Meryl Streep.

Honoree Geralyn Dreyfous has executive produced films such as Academy Award®- winning BORN INTO BROTHELS, THE DAY MY GOD DIED, THE INVISIBLE WAR and THE SQUARE. Dreyfous is also the co-founder of Impact Partners and is the Utah Film Center founder and board chair.

Honoree Karyn Kusama has directed films including ÆON FLUX and JENNIFER’S BODY and wrote and directed GIRLFIGHT. Her latest film, THE INVITATION, will be released in 2016.

Honoree, Tony Award winning composer and musical arranger, and Barnard College alumna Jeanine Tesori (BC ’83) has scored films and plays including FUN HOME, TWELFTH NIGHT, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, CAROLINE OR CHANGE and SHREK THE THIRD. She is the most prolific and honored female theatrical composer in history.

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