EXCLUSIVE: The Writers Lab has set Shari Albert (Fishtown), Stephanie Bast (FrankenFamily), Kelly Campbell (Pyramid Scheme), Shari Lynette Carpenter (Translate), Nic Cohen (Artemis One), Rebecca Dreyfus (Men), Gwen Goodkin (The Plant), Tamara Maloney & Maeve McQuillan (Darkened Room), Arianna Ortiz (Mama, Don’t), Zuri Rice (Green Hill), Roses Urquhart (This Is My Body) and Robin Shanea Williams (Adrienne Is Always Single) as the participants and projects for its eighth annual lab, supporting women screenwriters over the age of 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 script development in 2022. The Lab has re-doubled its efforts to amplify the voices of women writers, calling for 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 seen most commonly amongst its pool of submissions. This year’s Lab will focus on building the tools and strategies for talented writers to develop their projects and navigate the ever-shifting landscape of professional opportunities, with the 12 screenwriters selected to gather in Saugerties, NY in early November.
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Mentors and Guests confirmed for the 2022 Writers Lab include Susan Cartsonis (What Women Want), Suzanne Farwell (The Intern), Daniela Gonzalez (Good Fear Content), Pamela Gray (A Walk on the Moon), Yvonne Russo (Planes, Cranes and Rockets), Mary Jane Skalski (Hello I Must Be Going), 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 around include the Writers Guild of America, East, The Black List, Falco Ink, Film Fatales, Filmarket Hub, Population Media Center, Roadmap Writers and Untamed Stories.
“Women over 40 constitute 25% of the US population. But we don’t see them on screens,” remarked The Writers Lab Co-Founder Nitza Wilon. “Where are they? That’s what The Writers Lab is all about.”
“Content creation in the digital age is more relevant than ever before. 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 develop a strong community of writers, offers unique networking opportunities, and provides safe professional environments to help create new work by and about women. We look forward to the next wave of women writers that will redefine original content.”
The Writers Lab also today announced that its work is being recognized by AdvancingDiversity.org, a collective of more than 40 advertising and media companies and organizations, which last week unveiled its 2022 inductees into the Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors. “The Writers Lab is thrilled to be inducted into AdvancingDiversity.org’s Hall of Honors with these illustrious Honorees,” said co-founder Elizabeth Kaiden. “Advancing diversity is crucial to our mission of spotlighting an unexplored commodity: 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 past editions have been picked for development programs, with 16 being staffed and three having had their works produced. Program album Billie Bates’ film Spirit Halloween is set for release on September 30th. Past releases stemming from the Lab include Alyson Richards’s 2021 Canadian horror film The Retreat and Shelley Thompson’s 2021 Canadian drama, Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor. In addition to its flagship U.S. Lab, TWL now produces Labs for women writers over 40 in the UK & Ireland and across Europe.
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