Campus Coordinator, Katie Rapp, tells us about EFLI's visit to the Athena Film Festival:
On February 7th and 8th, members of the EFLI community attended the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College! The festival, “A Celebration of Women and Leadership,” featured a packed program of documentaries, panels, workshops and shorts that depicted women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world.
Attendees could pick and choose from events ranging from a conversation with Nobel Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee to recent film releases such as “Frozen” and “Belle.” Looking through the schedule, I was instantly drawn to the screening of “The 99ers,” which tells the story of the U.S. Women’s professional soccer team and their journey through the 1999 World Cup (spoiler alert: they won!). I grew up playing soccer and as a young girl, I looked up to women like Mia Hamm and Brandy Chastain. The team was an incredible role model of women in sports; not only were they one of the only celebrated women’s sports teams at the time, but they were also REALLY good. I remember watching them play with my two sisters and all of us feeling motivated to do our best, whether on the soccer field, with our homework assignments or in dance class.
While waiting for the film to start, Athena played a loop of various statistics regarding women in film, giving me background on the amount of women creating, acting in and represented in film. Through home video from 1999 and current day reflection from team members, the film highlighted the women’s amazing balance of working hard with having fun. They said that they weren’t successful just because they were talented - they also prioritized the team over their own egos and took care of their relationships with one another, helping individual members to stay invested and motivated. Afterwards, Christine Lily (a 1999 team member), the 1999 team’s coach and the film’s director joined us for a panel discussion in which they spoke to the challenges and rewards of being a woman athlete.
On Sunday, Antoinette and I returned to the festival for another film screening. We saw “Eufrosina” which followed the journey of Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza, an indigenous woman denied the right to become president of her community based on her gender and her inspirational activism to bring her own and other women’s voices into local politics.
From “The 99ers” to “Eufrosina” to the dozens of other events I wish I could have gone to, the Athena Film Festival offered an informative and fun opportunity to explore themes of women and leadership through numerous engaging mediums!