The Athena Film Festival (AFF) is joining forces with Disney Studios Content to expand its Creative Development Program, which awards over $50,000 annually to underrepresented filmmakers. A press release has announced that the Disney Athena List Development Grant will launch in time for the fest’s next edition, to be held March 2-5 at Barnard College in New York City.
The new grant will be given to an underrepresented writer/director of an Athena List winner or finalist. Now accepting submissions, the List is an annual script competition that selects exceptional scripts with women leaders at the heart of their stories. Its goal is is to raise the profile of the scripts and the writers within the industry, with the purpose of getting these movies made and elevating careers to the next level.
In order to be eligible for the Disney Athena List Development Grant, “the writer/director must be an emerging feature filmmaker who identifies as a woman or as non-binary and is from a traditionally underrepresented community in film,” the press release details. “Examples of underrepresented communities include but are not limited to people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, older women filmmakers, filmmakers in their second or third career, and others.”
“This is an exciting new addition to AFF’s existing development grants, which include the Breakthrough Award sponsored by Netflix, the Chinonye Chukwu Emerging Writer Award sponsored by Christine A. Schantz, and the Alfred P. Sloan Athena List Development Grant,” said AFF co-founder and Artistic Director and Women and Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein. “We are thrilled to continue awarding funds to filmmakers who have traditionally been excluded from industry opportunities and who are working on projects centering women’s leadership.”
“For Disney Studios Content, this grant builds on our commitment to bolstering representation in front of and behind the camera,” added Mahin Ibrahim, Director of Representation & Inclusion, Creative Talent Pathways. “We are excited to work with AFF to amplify storytelling from women and non-binary writer/directors.”