With a lot of work still to be done regarding the prominence of women in the filmmaking industry, it’s worth taking a moment to celebrate the wealth of vitality women are bringing to this art form. The Athena Film Festival, now in its fifth year, fulfills this exact duty: Over the course of four days at Barnard College, the fest screens numerous female-directed and/or female-centered features, documentaries, and shorts, in addition to offering a host of workshops and discussions. Belle director Amma Asante and the great actress Rachel Weisz are among this year’s festival co-chairs; the lineup of films, meanwhile, includes such recent acclaimed items as Beyond the Lights (the director of which, Gina Prince-Bythewood, is also on hand to lead a master class on directing), Dear White People, Obvious Child, and We Are the Best! Tonight’s fest-opening film, Dreamcatcher, the latest documentary from director Kim Longinotto, follows a former Chicago prostitute’s efforts to support young women in sexual-abuse situations.
Feb. 5-8, 7 p.m., 2015