The Writers Lab, a program targeting older female screenwriters, was announced at the Tribeca Film Festival today during a panel featuring Meryl Streep and the New York Women in Film & Television Tribeca. Streep, a NYWIFT Muse Award honoree, is helping finance the program with the organization in an effort to support and mentor female screenwriters over 40. Touted as the only program of its kind worldwide, the lab aims to counteract perceived gender and age bias affecting creative women in the film industry. Funding was provided in part thanks to a “sizable” contribution by Streep, who has a longstanding relationship with NYWIFT.
The Writers Lab will be held over three days later this year at Wiawaka Lodge on Lake George in upstate New York. Established in 1903, Wiawaka Lodge is the the oldest and longest continuously operating retreat for women in the United States. The event is scheduled for Sept. 18 to Sept. 20.
Eight writers will be selected to participate, working alongside eight “acclaimed mentors” for script development and career advice. Among the lab’s mentors are 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 (Boyhood, Me and You and Everyone We Know).
Submissions will be accepted between May 1 and June 1. Winners will be announced Aug. 1. Submissions should 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.”
More information can be found at NYWIFT’s official site.