The Very Best of Film/TV

Les Miserables, Athena Film Festival, Gwist

Victor Hugo’s classic novel comes to life on the big screen as the highly anticipated Les Miserables opens Dec 25 in theaters everywhere. The story follows Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who is consumed by hatred after serving 20 years in prison for a minor offense. He breaks his parole and is pursued by a determined lawman, Javert (Russell Crowe), who believes no criminal can ever reform. Yet Valjean becomes a factory owner and surrogate father to Cosette (Isabelle Allen), the orphaned daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway), one of Valjean’s workers who falls on hard times and turns to prostitution. Pursued by  Javert, Valjean flees to Paris, where, years later, the now-grown Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) falls in love with a student revolutionary, Marius (Eddie Redmayne), just before taking up arms against the repressive French government in 1832.

Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Women and Hollywood present the third annual Athena Film Festival, “A Celebration of Women and Leadership,” Feb 7-10. Every year the festival honors extraordinary women in the film industry and showcases movies that address women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world. The four-day event includes Q & A sessions with producers and directors and special workshops for women filmmakers. This year’s recipients of the Athena Film Festival Awards for their leadership and creative accomplishments include Gale Anne Hurd, producer of The Walking Dead; Ava DuVernay, director of Middle of Nowhere and founder of the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement; and Rose Kuo, executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Look for Gwist, a new YouTube partner channel targeting LGBT and like-minded viewers, launching Jan 14 at an Internet connection near you. Gwist—which stands for “TV With a Gay Twist”—is designed to appeal to anyone with gay sensibility, and will feature weekly short-form series starring established LGBT talent and gay YouTube stars. The premier season includes The Untitled Spousal Equivalent Game, a relationship game show hosted by acclaimed lesbian comic Judy Gold, where gay and straight couples face off to prove their marriages can be equally miserable. Don’t miss Love’N Mo, a gay girl’s guide to sex and relationships for straight men starring former WNBA star Margot Clark.

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