The Writers Lab

The Writers Lab brings promising scripts from women screenwriters over the age of 40 together with outstanding professional female filmmakers for an intensive four-day screenwriting retreat. Mentors advise participants in one-on-one meetings and via panel discussions. The conversation continues at mealtime and at after-hours gatherings. Interactions are designed to inspire the artists; to prompt rigorous creative exploration; and, through revision, to cultivate first-rate cinematic stories.

The Writers Lab is dedicated to developing narrative feature screenplays written by women over the age of 40. We feel it is critical to nurture the voices of mature women that have not been heard and are in danger of being lost entirely. We look forward to a new landscape where the female narrative is in equal proportion to the male narrative, sharing our stories to strengthen our ties to one another and empower younger generations.

Meryl Streep funded the Writers Lab in 2015, to be run by New York Women in Film and Television and IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers. The creation of the lab, and Streep’s involvement in its founding, was announced Sunday at a panel discussion presented as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. Called the Writers Lab, the screenplay development program aims to increase opportunities for female screenwriters over the age of 40. Among the mentors to participate in the Lab’s inaugural year are writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Beyond the Lights”), producer Caroline Kaplan (“Boyhood”), and writers Kirsten Smith (“Legally Blonde”) and Jessica Bendinger (“Bring It On”). According to NYWIFT, Streep ponied up a “significant” contribution to fully fund the Lab. The actress has been a longtime supporter of NYWIFT.