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  • Dave Barry

Writer's Lab for Over-40 Women Screenwriters

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Oprah Winfrey, this latest iteration of Streep's writer's lab and retreat is moving to an entirely online platform because of the pandemic. Despite the change in location, the goal remains the same: Move 12 new projects across the finish line.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

The Writers Lab, which supports women screenwriters over 40 with mentoring from leading filmmakers, has unveiled its mentors and 12 participants and their projects for a first-time virtual 2020 edition.

The screenwriting program, backed by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Oprah Winfrey and New York Women in Film & Television, has as 2020 mentors producers Anne Carey, Susan Cartsonis, Shruti Ganguly and Mary Jane Skalski. Also helping get scripts across the finish line for 2020 lab participants is Frida Torresblanco, former Focus Features exec Jamie Zelermyer and screenwriters Mara Brock Akil, Pamela Gray, Lisa Jones, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Theresa Rebeck, Robin Swicord and Pat Verducci.

The mentors will champion fictional narrative scripts of varied genres brought by 2020 lab participants Nichole Abshire, Charlotte Cameron, Elise Greven, Joey Day Hargrove, Christine Hoang, Christine Autrand Mitchell, Carolyn Saunders, Kelly Yoon Strathmore, Barbara Ward Thall, Victoria Thomas, Sandy Thomson and Julie Zografos.

The Lab is produced by Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, who founded the writers program in 2015 with Kyle Stokes.

"I’m excited by this year’s inclusive group of women screenwriters and the diversity of their stories. I look forward to seeing these films - from science fiction to horror, mystery to westerns - come to fruition. The more women's stories we see, the more women are empowered," Nicole Kidman said in a statement as the latest Writer Lab movie scribes were unveiled.

For its sixth edition, The Writers Lab has moved from a traditional physical retreat, with in-person panel discussions and one-on-one mentoring, to a virtual platform where screenwriters will look to complete film scripts with one-on-one online sessions, new digital resources, including podcasts and recorded talks with lab mentors and supporters.

"Now more than ever, we must all answer the call to be more inclusive, to reflect the totality of human experience,” Kaiden said in her own statement about the diversity of the lab's 2020 class.

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