The Writers Lab sets participants for the eighth edition – Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: The Writers Lab put Shari Albert (Fishtown), Stephanie Bast (Franken family), Kelly Campbell (Pyramid scheme), Shari Lynette Charpentier (Translate), Nick Cohen (Artemis One), Rebecca Dreyfus (Men), Gwen Goodkin (The plant), Tamara Maloney and Maeve McQuillan (dark bedroom), Arianna Ortiz (Mom, don’t), Zuri Rice (green hill), Urquhart Roses (It’s my body) and Robin Shanea Williams (Adrienne is still single.) as participants and projects in its eighth annual lab, serving women screenwriters over 40.
Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman have renewed their support for the Writers Lab, which will return to its in-person format for screenplay development in 2022. The Lab has redoubled its efforts to amplify the voices of women writers, calling for a greater inclusion of their stories in film and television, in response to growing threats to women’s rights, with genre scripts (particularly comedies) and historical stories about pioneering women being most often seen among its pool of submissions. This year’s Lab will focus on creating tools and strategies for talented writers to grow their projects and navigate the ever-changing landscape of professional opportunities, with the 12 screenwriters selected to meet in Saugerties, NY at the start of november.
Confirmed mentors and guests for Writers Lab 2022 include Susan Cartsonis (What women Want), Suzanne Farwell (Trainee), Daniela Gonzalez (Good Fear Content), Pamela Gray (A walk on the moon), Yvonne Russo (Planes, cranes and rockets), Mary Jane Skalski (hello i have to go), Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Pat Verducci (true crime) and Jamie Zelermyer (Before/During/After). The Lab’s partner organizations this time include Writers Guild of America, East, The Black List, Falco Ink, Film Fatales, Filmarket Hub, Population Media Center, Roadmap Writers and Untamed Stories.
“Women over the age of 40 constitute 25% of the American population. But we don’t see them on screens,” noted Nitza Wilon, co-founder of The Writers Lab. “Where are they? That’s what The Writers Lab is.
“Creating content in the digital age is more relevant than ever. The voices and vision of women writers are instrumental in reimagining a post-COVID world that thrives on innovation, self-determination and problem-solving techniques to build a more equitable society,” said NYWIFT Executive Director Cynthia Lopez. “The Writers Lab continues to build a strong community of writers, offers unique networking opportunities, and provides safe professional environments to help create new works by and about women. We look forward to the next wave of female writers who will redefine original content.
The Writers Lab also announced today that its work has been recognized by AdvancingDiversity.org, a collective of more than 40 advertising and media companies and organizations, which last week unveiled its 2,022 Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors inductees. “The Writers Lab is thrilled to be inducted into the AdvancingDiversity.org Hall of Honors with these illustrious honorees,” said co-founder Elizabeth Kaiden. “Promoting diversity is central to our mission to shine a light on an unexplored product: cinematic stories that 50% of the population are clamoring to see.”
Produced by Kaiden, Wilon and New York Women in Film & Television, The Writers Lab is also supported by the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation. 24 participants from previous editions were selected for development programs, of which 16 were recruited and three saw their works produced. Billie Bates film program album Halloween spirit is scheduled for September 30. Past Lab releases include Alyson Richards’ 2021 Canadian horror film Retirement and Shelley Thompson’s 2021 Canadian drama, Dawn, her father and the tractor. In addition to its flagship US lab, TWL now produces labs for women writers over 40 in the UK, Ireland and across Europe.