Jodie Foster Shares Her Life-Changing Moment While Accepting Athena Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

Pam WrightLife

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Jodie Foster spoke on the important role women have in the film industry while receiving the 2015 Athena Film Festival's lifetime achievement award Thursday at Barnard College in New York.

"When I was growing up in the film business, I never saw a woman's face," Foster said. "Sometimes it would be a lady who played my mom. Occasionally, it would be a makeup artist, but most often it would really just be me and the script supervisor. Little by little, as time went on, a few female faces came onto crews, and it changed everything…Men [who were my] fathers and brothers, little by little, women came into their world and suddenly the family was a more realistic family."

Jodie Foster praised Sherry Lansing and the late producer Laura Ziskin, who spent five years as Fox 2000 president. The Athena Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award is named after Ziskin.

"Really great women who could be at the forefront of...change in the industry," Foster said.

Although Jodie Foster always had the desire to direct, she said she never felt like she had the right to even contemplate the idea because she didn't think female directors existed.

"There I was a young girl wanting to be a director and never seeing a female director's face," said Foster. "I thought it was something…I would never be allowed to do."

It wasn't until her mother took her to a film festival featuring the work of Lina Wertmuller that Jodie Foster "came to realize that I could be a woman director if I wanted to because there was one out there, and that was a life-changing moment for me."

Pam Wright