The Writers Lab Announces Women Screenwriters For Script Development Retreat!

meryl streep

Meryl Streep has long advocated the hiring of more women in all aspects of filmmaking and noted that so-called ‘women’s movies’ -when done well – makes a ton of money.

She has also put her money where it counts, funding a script development retreat for The Writers Lab that will give a dozen women screenwriters an intensive three-day opportunity to work up their next scripts.

New York Women in Film & and Television and IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers, today announced the selected screenwriters and named the eight mentors who will work with them (it’s a very impressive list). Follow the jump for more.

New York Women In Film & Television and IRIS Announce:

The Writers Lab Funded by Academy Award-Winner Meryl Streep Selects Final Women Screenwriters

Twelve Female Screenwriters and Eight Mentors Heading to Three-Day Intensive Script Development Retreat Beginning September 18

New York City (August 10, 2015) – New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) and IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers, have announced the selected screenwriters to participate in the inaugural year of The Writers Lab.  The program is the only kind in the world devoted to providing script development for women writers over the age of 40 and is fully funded by the legendary icon Meryl Streep. The Writers Lab is presented in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America, East.

The program which received over 3,500 submissions and overwhelming praise from women writers across the globe, has decided to expand the number of total participants from eight to twelve. Members of the WGAE were active participants in the judging process. Other support for The Lab came from Final Draft.

The twelve chosen participants for the TheWriters Lab, 2015 are:

Sarah Bird, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Vanessa Carmichael, The American

Tracy Charlton, Raised Up

Kellen Hertz Ashburn

Anna Hozian, Anchor Baby

Lyralen Kaye, St. John the Divine in Iowa

Jan Kimbrough,The Glastonbury Cow Party

Billie Mason, The Cargo

Peres Owino, Basketweaver

Gretchen Somerfeld, Face Value

Janet Stilson, Jaguar Trail

Kim Turner, It Goes Like This

The eight mentors attached to the first lab, slated for September 18-20, 2015, will include: Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On, Aquamarine), Caroline Kaplan (Time Out of Mind, Me and You and Everyone We Know), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out), Darnell Martin (Cadillac Records), Lydia Dean Pilcher (Darjeeling Limited, The Talented Mr. Ripley), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights), Mary Jane Skalski (Win Win, The Station Agent) and Kirsten Smith (Legally Blond, Ten Things I Hate About You).

The founders of IRIS have been hard at work managing submissions while continuing to design and build the Lab, and are deeply gratified by the response: “The amount of talent we’ve seen is simply staggering.  We’re honored toprovide a platform for these rich and complex voices.”

Terry Lawler, Executive Director of New York Women in Film and Television has gained an overwhelming amount of endorsement for the new venture, “The Writers Lab created an electrifying jolt of excitement for women writers and we intend to continue supporting and championing the voices of women in film and television.”

Selected screenwriter Gretchen Somerfeld expressed her excitement, “Being selected for an honor like this is one of the most powerful, and democratic, ways to move your project forward in the business. Based solely on merit, it gives credibility and prestige to underserved storytellers, who have amazing films to share with the world.”

The Writers Lab will take place on Lake George in upstate New York at the historic Wiawaka Center, the oldest and longest continuously operating retreat for women in America, created in 1903.  The twelve writers and eight mentors will meet for intensive one-on-one discussions to develop and refine the script. In addition everyone will come together for panel discussions to explore universal themes and concepts in filmmaking.

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.

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About New York Women in Film & Television:

New York Women in Film & Television supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media. NYWIFT energizes the careers of women in entertainment by illuminating their achievements, providing training and professional development, and advocating for equality.

The preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT brings together nearly 2,000 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 40 women in film chapters worldwide, representing more than 10,000 members. NYWIFT produces over 50 innovative programs and special events annually, including the Muse Awards for Vision and Achievement, which honors women in front of and behind the camera, and Designing Women, which recognizes costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists in the industry.

NYWIFT is a nonprofit, 501c3 public charity, and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. It is governedby an 18 member board of directors. The board is elected by the membership.

More information can be found online at: