Finalists for Black List-Inspired Athena List Revealed (Exclusive)

The Athena Film Festival has announced the finalists for the 2024 Athena List, the festival’s Black List-inspired selection of unproduced screenplays focused on female leadership.

High-profile projects that were featured on past editions of the Athena List, part of the Barnard-based festival, include Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex, Chinonye Chukwu‘s Clemency, the Sundance 2024-bound Out of My Mind by On the Basis of Sex writer Daniel Stiepleman, and Patricia Clarkson-starrer Lilly about Lilly Ledbetter and her fight for fair pay.

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This year’s finalists are 7 on 10 by Samantha Lavin, A Bridge Between Us by Gina Hackett, I Don’t Dream in Spanish Anymore by Missy Hernandez, Keesha Goes to Camp by Rebecca Jordan Smith, Liars by Alicia Louzoun-Heisler, The Pendulum Woman by Katherine Hayes and Skrrrt! by Gabriela García Medina and Katherine Craft.

7 on 10 focuses on a former WNBA player sentenced to seven years in prison for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated who faces her past on and off the court.

A Bridge Between Us, based on a true story, follows the wife of the Brooklyn Bridge’s chief engineer who reluctantly steps into his role, becoming the world’s first female engineer, when he’s paralyzed during the bridge’s construction.

I Don’t Dream in Spanish Anymore centers around a scientist who needs to return to her roots to escape an ancestral curse threatening her and her unborn child.

Keesha Goes to Camp follows a nerdy Black tween who is sent to an outdoor summer camp where the introverted booksmart girl is challenged by nature, rivals and the opposite sex.

Liars is a queer character-driven thriller set in Silicon Valley in which a brilliant neuroscientist whose work has been underrecognized is pulled into a mystery after she’s hired to use her AI lie-detection technology to vet sexual misconduct accusations against a major tech CEO.

The Pendulum Woman centers around Edith Wharton, as the recently divorced and well-connected writer decides to stay in Paris at the start of World War I to fight for France.

Skrrrt! follows a teen girl with muscular dystrophy who’s accepted to Harvard but can’t afford to go, so she gathers a group of frenemies from high school to pull off a car heist during Art Basel in Miami.

“As the Athena List enters its ninth year, we’re proud announce the 2024 finalists and look forward to recognizing them at our festival next month,” Athena Film Festival artistic director Melissa Silverstein said in a statement. “These scripts encompass an impressive diversity of topics and genres, and we’re excited to follow these projects’ paths given this initiative’s successful track record.”

Since launching in 2014, the Athena List has received more than 1,500 submissions and named more than 70 winners and finalists. Additionally, more than $70,000 in grants have been issued to Athena List winners and finalists through the Alfred P. Sloan Athena List Development Grant and The Disney Athena List Development Grant.

The Athena List winners will be announced during the 2024 Athena Film Festival, which is set to run from Feb. 29-March 3 at Barnard College in New York.

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