News Women in the spotlight at Athena Film Festival Journalist Melissa Silverstein and Barnard professor Kathryn Kolbert founded the Athena Film Festival as a response to the ongoing gender disparity in Hollywood. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Robin Marchant By ROBERT LEVIN email@example.com @rlevin85 February 5, 2014 4:21 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Even within the crowded New York film calendar, the Athena Film Festival stands out. The annual event, the city's only major festival geared toward promoting women in movies, kicks off its fourth edition at Barnard College tonight. Athena opens with a screening of the movie "Belle," about the daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay, and runs through Sunday. Journalist Melissa Silverstein and Barnard professor Kathryn Kolbert founded Athena four years ago as a direct response to the ongoing gender disparity in Hollywood, both in terms of the characters portrayed onscreen and the talent in front of and behind the camera. "The festival started when Melissa invited me to a dinner at Gloria Steinem's to honor [filmmaker] Jane Campion," Kolbert said. "There were all these women filmmakers in the room, many of whom told the same story about the fact that they couldn't get their films made when the stories were about courageous, dynamic women. From my perspective, just starting a leadership center at [Barnard] ... we really wanted to change what I think of as the 'blink,' that is what happens when you picture a leader. What does a leader look like?" By ROBERT LEVIN firstname.lastname@example.org @rlevin85 Robert, amNewYork's Editor-in-Chief, has been with the team in one capacity or another for more than a decade. He also reviews movies and writes entertainment features. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.