Industry / Market - Europe
Industry Report: Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
The Writers Lab for women screenwriters over 40 launches in Europe
Fremantle and HBO Max Nordic support the initiative that was first launched in the US and later expanded to the UK
The Writers Lab Europe (TWL Europe), with support from Fremantle and HBO Max Nordic, has announced the first virtual script development programme of its kind for women over 40.
The Writers Lab is the only programme devoted exclusively to script development for women and non-binary writers over 40. Originally founded in the US, the US programme is supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Oprah Winfrey, in association with New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT). With partners Julia Berg and Ruth Spencer of Untamed Stories, the Lab expanded into the UK in 2021 with Cate Blanchett's Dirty Films.
This six-month virtual programme for European writers will be held in April 2022, with ongoing mentoring, development and marketplace sessions in the months following. Submissions of both Features and Pilots (both 1 hour and ½ hour) will be accepted for consideration in the English language (at writers and financiers' discretion, may be later translated into their original language). Aided by the support of partners, up to 15 writers will be selected to participate in an opportunity for unique and emerging voices reflecting the diversity of the populations across the whole European region.
Director Lynne Ramsay, who mentored in The Writers Lab UK and Ireland 2021, said:
"It's incredible support for talented filmmakers to get a chance to hothouse and realise their feature films ….which in a nurturing environment is essential."
Fremantle, alongside its Italian production label Wildside, will back the initiative by sponsoring several writers across the programme.
HBO Max Nordic will sponsor one Nordic writer to participate in the Lab.
European Partners also include German Films, the Netherlands Film Fund, Screen Ireland, the Polish Film Institute, the Austrian Film Institute, ORF, FISA - Film Industry Support Austria, Aurora Studios from Finland, Rabbit Films, Film Tampere, City of Helsinki and screen.brussels.
The aforementioned Wildside also joins in alongside Germany-based Odeon Fiction.
The Lab is in association with Drehbuchforum Wien (Screenwriters Forum Vienna), Women in Film and TV (WIFT) Finland, Women in Film and TV (WIFT) International and Women In Film TV & Media (WIFTM) Italy.
Mentors added to the European line up include Valeria Golino (Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile]) and Zackary Drucker (Transparent). They join guests and mentors Susanne Bier (The Night Manager), Jasmila Žbanić (Quo Vadis, Aida? [+see also:
interview: Jasmila Žbanić
film profile]), Christina Ham (Them), Jantje Friese (Dark), Isabel Coixet (The Secret Life of Words [+see also:
interview: Isabel Coixet
film profile]), Ameenah Ayub Allen (Rocks [+see also:
interview: Sarah Gavron
film profile], Ali & Ava [+see also:
film profile]), and Nadine Labaki (Capernaum [+see also:
Untamed Stories, the Co-producers of The Writers Lab Europe, said:
"We are excited to expand this Lab into the European region, continuing the mission to uplift talented women screenwriters who are 40+. We are so grateful for the US founders of the Lab - Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon – and for the support of all the European partners and incredible mentors who ensure that this important demographic has the opportunity to develop their material, gain greater access, get their stories exposed and hopefully made - to ensure a more inclusive industry."
Submissions are open now until 7th February 2022. Find all details and apply at https://writers.coverfly.com/competitions/view/twl-europe-2022
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