C. Molly Smith
February 05, 2015 AT 12:00 PM EST

Paul Feig will be honored at the sixth Athena Film Festival with the first-ever Athena Leading Man award. The Ghostbusters filmmaker is the first man to be honored by the festival.

The Athena Film Festival announced the news on Friday, and credited the director-producer-screenwriter for his fierce support of women through films such as Spy, Heat, Bridesmaids, and this summer’s Ghostbusters (due July 15), an all-female reboot starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones.

“There is nothing more important to me than creating meaningful, diverse, and three-dimensional roles for women in front of the camera and doing whatever I can to help move the industry toward complete equality for their creative visions and voices behind the camera,” Feig said in a press statement. “So, to be named as Athena’s first male honoree means more to me than I can ever express.”

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Festival co-founders Melissa Silverstein and Kathryn Kolbert added, “We feel it is crucial to recognize and honor not only the women who are breaking barriers, but also the men who support and advocate for them. Paul’s body of work is a true testament to his commitment to talented women in the entertainment industry. We cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”

Feig will receive his award on Feb. 20. The Festival, a weekend event with feature films, documentaries, and shorts that celebrate female leadership, is set for Feb. 18–21, and will be held at Barnard College in New York City.

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