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Athena Film Festival Sets ‘Till,’ ‘Plan C’ as Opening, Closing Night Films (Exclusive)



The 2023 Athena Film Festival is set to open with a screening of Chinonye Chukwu’s acclaimed Till and close with the New York premiere of the timely Sundance selection Plan C.

The screening of Tillabout how Emmett Till’s mother transformed her grief into a movement for justice, is just the latest in Chukwu’s history with the Barnard College festival focused on female leadership.

Her first film, Clemency, was on The Athena List, the festival’s Black List-inspired selection of best unproduced screenplays. That film also screened at the 2020 festival. And Athena launched the Chinonye Chukwu Emerging Writer Award in 2021.

And the Till screening comes after the acclaimed film surprisingly missed out on Oscar nominations including for star Danielle Deadwyler’s celebrated performance as Mamie Till-Mobley.

The festival will close with the New York premiere of Plan CTracy Droz Tragos’ documentary about a grassroots network fighting to expand access to abortion pills across the United States. Plan C had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

“We look forward to bringing Chinonye Chukwu’s work back to the festival with her newest feature, Till, to open the 13th edition. From Clemency being on the Athena List, to an award in her name, it has been a true delight watching Chinonye soar,” Melissa Silverstein, Athena Festival co-founder and artistic director and founder of Women and Hollywood, said in a statement. “Till is such an impactful and important film that I think is crucial for all audiences to see. We are also thrilled to be closing our festival with Plan C, a film that could not be more critical in today’s climate. Additionally, our Creative Development Program is growing and we are proud to announce $65,000 going to this year’s awardees.”

The festival has also added the films Blueback, Under GD and Black Mothers Love & Resistwith Black Mothers Love & Resist‘s director Débora Souza Silva set to be honored with the festival’s breakthrough award. And Chukwu’s namesake award will be given to Kristen A. Golden for AWE.

The 13th edition of the Athena Film Festival, a joint partnership between Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership and the initiative Women and Hollywood, is set to run from March 2-5 on Barnard’s campus in New York.

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