Biography

Athena Xenidou

Athena Xenidou

Athena is a director, producer and screenwriter, working in film, tv and theatre.

She has been a Jury Member for the International Emmy Awards since 2001 and in 2004, she was invited to represent Cypriot filmmakers at the Cannes Film Festival. She is currently serving as a member of the board for the Directors Guild of Cyprus and the Treasurer of the Cyprus Symphonic Orchestra.

Athena began her studies in Music, Theatre and English Literature at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. She then went on to receive a BA in Film at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MA in International Relations from the University of Nicosia.

She produced her first short film Dead End (1996) with film school classmate Chris Rafferty (Lucifer and The Flash) which won a University of California Grant for Best Project in Humanities and Fine Arts. Her directorial debut was The Made Guy (1997) in Los Angeles, a short film which won Best Cinematography at Reel Loud Short Film Festival in Santa Barbara.

Following that, she worked as a producer at the American Film Institute in LA, collaborating with director Hassan Amini, on Tripwire (1998).

Her first feature film documentary, Unwitnessed Memories (2000), an International Emmy Awards semi-finalist, won Gold Special Jury Award at Worldfest Houston, Best Documentary at the Cyprus International Film Festival and received distinctions at The International Human Rights Film Festival in Prague and IDFA in Amsterdam.

In 2001 Athena moved to Athens, Greece, accepting an offer to work as a director for reality shows Survivor 1 and 2, The Farm and Celebrity Farm. She then went on to direct episodes for TV series Roua Mat, The Secret Well and Things You Don’t Know.

Athena has directed numerous theatrical productions, including Miss Julie (2012) starring Alexis Georgoulis, Mr and Mrs Nicolaides Sex Life (2014) by Demetra Papadopoulou, The Shadow Box at the National Theatre of Cyprus (2008) and The Stone (2013), resulting in three nominations and one win at the National Theatre Awards.

In 2020, Athena directed and produced two short films with Sophia Tsangaridou: Saving Joy and Insidious, Invisible. Both films received several distinctions from festivals around the globe such as the Stockholm Film Festival and Saving Joy, which won Best Microfilm Award at Roma Short Film Festival.

In 2020, she directed and produced the music video for Saving the World by Monika, together with her brother Stavros Xenides, cinematographer Simos Sarketzis (Smyrna, my beloved and Little England) and editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis (The Favorite).

In 2021, she directed Sing for Seafarers, a global campaign for the Ince, raising awareness for the 400,000 seafarers, stranded at sea due to the pandemic. Sailing, the iconic song performed by Rod Stewart, was re-recorded by award-winning music producer George Shilling.

She collaborated with Maria Xenidou and Barry Cook, (Disney’s director of Mulan) on Socrates & Soc, a screenplay aimed for a 3d animation film.

Passionate for teaching, she founded The Film and Stage Studio in 2008, preparing young adults with portfolios, auditions and interviews for entry in prestigious acting and film schools around the globe.  As an educator, she enriches her skills at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she attends their yearly workshops. In 2022 she teached the Filmmaking Workshop for Youth at Cyprus Film Days International Film Festival.

In 2022 Athena was invited to a film festival in New York, an homage to Independent Cyprus Filmmakers at the Greek Cultural Centre.

 

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