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December 18, 2017 at 12:23 PM EST

On Monday morning, it was announced that J.J. Abrams will receive the 2018 Athena Leading Man Award at the eighth annual Athena Film Festival.

“I am deeply humbled to be recognized by the Athena Film Festival,” said Abrams. “Any good I’ve done has been achieved because I have worked alongside women, and I share my gratitude with all of them for being honored with this award.” The 2018 edition of the festival will celebrate Abrams’ “extraordinary career and continued support and advocacy of women in the entertainment industry,” which includes his work on Alias and introducing the world to Daisy Ridley’s Rey in the new Star Wars trilogy.

“At this time, it is particularly important for us to recognize men who are standing strong with women and joining our call for gender equality. He is a true ally and we are incredibly proud to have him on our side,” festival co-founder Kathryn Kolbert added of Abrams in Monday’s announcement.

Past recipients of the Athena Leading Man Award have included filmmaker Paul Feig in 2016, and actor David Oyelowo in 2017.

Celebrating the leadership and creative accomplishments of trailblazers in the entertainment industry, the Athena Film Festival showcases films about powerful women, both real and fictitious. Other 2018 honorees include filmmaker Barbara Kopple, Amma Asante, and Bridget Everett.

The 2018 Athena Film Festival will take place from Feb. 22-25 at Barnard College in New York City.

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