During a panel at this week’s Tribeca Film Festival, Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep announced her financial involvement in the creation of a screenwriter’s workshop for women over 40 years of age. The lab will be run by New York Women in Film and Television and IRIS, a collective of female filmmakers. Streep is a long-time supporter of NYWIFT and her upcoming role as a women’s rights activist in Suffragette is a testament to her championing of women in and out of the industry.
The program, titled Writers Lab, is aimed to promote the work of female screenwriters and increase their opportunities, an issue which has been a leading excuse for the lack of female representation in both screenwriting and directing up until now. An increase in female scripters would logically trickle down to a larger variety of quality female roles as well, decreasing the wide gender representation gap within cinema.
With the help of high-profile film industry members like Streep, these unfortunate statistics could potentially change. The lab will feature several mentors for the aspiring female screenwriters. These will include writer/director Gina Prince-Blythewood (Beyond the Lights), producer Caroline Kaplan (Boyhood), and writers Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde) and Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On).
Writers Lab will be accepting submissions from May 1 to June 1 and will choose eight screenwriters from the pack to attend the workshop in New York by August 1.