The Writers Lab – Female Screenwriters Lab For Women Over 40, Funded by Meryl Streep, Presented by NYWIFT and IRIS

Muse honoree Meryl Streep donning a NYWIFT jacket in 1983
Muse honoree Meryl Streep donning a NYWIFT jacket in 1983

The New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) organization is taking further action to advocate for the underrepresented voice of women in American cinema by establishing The Writers Lab.  The only program of its kind in the world, The Writers Lab has been created to provide script development for women writers over the age of 40, while granting a springboard to the next stage of production and expanding the boundaries of narrative film. Funded by legendary icon and longtime NYWIFT collaborator, Meryl Streep, The Writers Lab will be organized by NYWIFT and IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers.


The Writers Lab will select eight promising female screenwriters over 40 for a three-day intensive script development retreat with acclaimed mentors. The Writers Lab will take place on Lake George in upstate New York at the historic Wiawaka Lodge, the oldest and longest continuously operating retreat for women in America, created in 1903.


The eight mentors attached to the first lab, slated for September 18-20, 2015, will include: Mary Jane Skalski (Win Win, The Station Agent), Kirsten Smith (Legally Blond, Ten Things I Hate About You), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights), Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On, Aquamarine), and Caroline Kaplan (Time Out Of Mind, Me and You and Everyone We Know), pending scheduling.


“After decades of ageism and sexism in our culture and in film, the complex voices of mature women are in danger of being lost entirely,” says Terry Lawler, director of New York Women in Film & Television. She adds, “Women must address this inequality by taking ownership of our cultural narrative, which is why NYWIFT has joined forces with a new collective of powerful creatives in establishing The Writers Lab.”


The Writers Lab will accept submissions May 1-June 1, 2015, and will announce the eight winning female screenwriters on August 1.  Submissions must be feature-length, fictional narrative scripts of any genre written by women over the age of 40, who are American citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.MerylStreep_photo01

IRIS is a collective of women filmmakers founded by Kyle Ann Stokes, Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon to champion the female voice through fictional narrative film.


Meryl Streep has been a longtime supporter of New York Women in Film & Television dating back to 1983 when Streep was honored with a MUSE award in recognition of her outstanding vision and achievement.

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