May 23, 2015

Meryl Streep Funds The Writers Lab to Support Women Screenwriters Ages 40 and Up

Meryl Streep Funds The Writers Lab to Support Women Screenwriters 40 and Up
The paucity of female screenwriters needs to change. So Meryl Streep has decided to do just that.

Meryl Streep has provided funding for The Writers Lab, a weekend screenwriting workshop for female screenwriters ages 40 and up, to be run by the New York Women in Film and Television and IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers. The Writers Lab is seeking 8 women screenwriters over the age of 40 for a screenwriting workshop at Wiawaka Center for Women on Lake George, NY from September 18-20, 2015.

Selected screenwriters will work one-on-one with mentors including Caroline Kaplan (Time Out of Mind, Personal Velocity), Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You), Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On, Aquamarine), Mary Jane Skalski (Win Win, The Station Agent), Gina Prince-Blythewood (Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees), Lydia Dean Pilcher (The Lunchbox, The Reluctant Fundamentalist) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys).

Here are the eligibility requirements from the NYWIFT website:

Applicants must be women who were born on or prior to June 1, 1975, and must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents. The Lab seeks submissions from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups. Submissions must be full-length narrative screenplays in English. (No TV scripts, shorts or documentaries.) We seek a broad selection of screenplays across all genres of fiction. Scripts by more than one writer will be considered, but all writers must be female, and only one writer can attend The Lab.

The deadline to apply is June 1, 2015 at 5 pm EDT. Submissions require a WGA registered screenplay in PDF, a short synopsis, and a brief personal statement. The entry fee is $25 for members of NYWIFT, other Women in Film chapters and WGA members, and $55 for non-members. Applicants can submit through the NYWIFT Submissions Page.

(photo by Vincent Luigi Molino [CC]    

Your Comment

18 Comments

Who would have thought I could love Meryl more?

May 23, 2015 at 8:19PM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
697

Devils advocate here but the world has never been more "politically correct" than it is now yet if a man came out and said he was funding a writers group male only 40 and up he'd lynched by every feminist group in the country...

Its not only sexist its agist. There haven't been glass ceilings for a very long time. Thatcher PM of Britain, women landing space shuttles, wherever you look there are examples. I even think I've had more female bosses in my life than not. One even touched me up once (female I mean, not that theres anything wrong with that, but thats another story).

Unless Streep was exclusively helped and guided through her career by women only, why this??

May 24, 2015 at 11:56AM

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Historically, and currently, women have been oppressed by men in every country in the world. It doesn't take much to see that.

They still earn less money in than a man in the same job role, they make up 16% of high earning jobs, many take on jobs whilst still doing most of the work parenting and homemaking. They're also still valued for their looks in a completely different way to men, hence the aged 40 and up thing she's doing. If you're not young and attractive as a woman you're chances are vastly different.

I totally applaud her for this.

May 25, 2015 at 10:57AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
817

What a load of hogwash here mate. Looks like you are a victim of feminists social engineering. If you take time off work looking after children you take a pay hit regardless if you are a man or a woman. As a man have you ever ask for 6 to 12 months off work and still expect the same pay as a colleague doing the same work? Of course not. You get less or the sack for being a man!
Have you yourself witness female script writers being oppressed by men? I haven't but I have seen men being passed over in various professions including the film industry in favour of women because of a politically correct quota system.
I was going to buy a Digital Bolex and signed up to be a customer for their camera until I found out they were awarding $10k freebie and discount to female filmmakers. I then made a moral decision and bought Blackmagic cameras. As of today I will also stop watching any films with Meryl Streep in it so I don't help her promote sexism against men.
Men always had it tough in many professions because everything is stacked against them. Women are getting preferential treatments regardless of their ability because of a ill perceived idea they were supposed to be oppressed. Experience tells me that if you cannot cut it it is down to your ability, your work is not good enough. If more men than women are successful perhaps men on average are better than women.

May 25, 2015 at 2:25PM

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Simon Chan
Director of Photography
178

"Historically, and currently, women have been oppressed by men in every country in the world. It doesn't take much to see that."

Yea, sorry, but this is nothing more than modern social-marxist theory. It's true that there are counties where women are oppressed (middle-east), but overall societies have always been built by men FOR women and children. Men and women have different biological roles. This is not oppression. We are a sexual dimorphic species and 100% ability in all areas is impossible, hence two DIFFERENT genders.

"They still earn less money in than a man in the same job role, they make up 16% of high earning jobs, many take on jobs whilst still doing most of the work parenting and homemaking."

Please look at modern figures... women under 30 make almost 15% more than men for the same job. The wage-gap has been debunked add-infinitum. The 70% of every dollar was insidiously concocted by including ALL women... including those who DO NOT work... and then comparing it to men, who mostly ALL work. It is an egregiously dishonest figure used as a political tool.

May 25, 2015 at 8:19PM

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If women truly made less than men, companies all over would fire all the guys and only hire women.

May 26, 2015 at 7:06PM, Edited May 26, 7:06PM

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William Stewart
Director of Photography
569

"They still earn less money in than a man in the same job role, "

The same source, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, that shows women earning less per year than men also shows men working more hours per week. There are no sources showing women earning less than men for the same job role. You made that up. If it were true, women would have a huge hiring advantage over men. As is stands, women cost more to employ due to their excessive use of sick leave, unpaid time off , group health care expenses, higher turnover, to name a few.

May 28, 2015 at 5:25PM, Edited May 28, 5:25PM

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Gumbo
81

the fact that women is oppressed by men is a complete western bullshit. I grew up in a third world country where a government doesn't give a damn about human rights. Even then, I was lucky to be surrounded by very strong independent women who managed to build spectacular careers, raise kids and be respected, my mother including. I truly believe that by giving a financial support to a certain group of healthy people because of their gender and age is very sexist and ageist. if the person doesn't want to discriminate anyone, he/she wouldn't point out that someone needs a special approach or treatment. Moreover, I think it is humiliating for women to participate in this kind of activities. Media industry is a business, it is not about boy or girl thing. At the end of the day if a person earns the money for a company, who would care if it is a woman or man?

May 26, 2015 at 4:57AM, Edited May 26, 5:04AM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1294

Perhaps a woman wants to chime in on this?

May 26, 2015 at 5:10AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
817

Ah yes, interesting how few women ever appear on these comments. Why is that? I'll take a stab in the dark and say Meryl knows a bit about the Hollywood boy's club and wants to give women mentoring and guidance so they can be represented a little more equally in Hollywood as directors and writers. Sounds fair enough to me. Networks, contacts and friends count for so much in this industry and if she wants to help get better stories told involving woman actually written by them in Hollywood, so she can act in them, then can you blame her? Anyone encouraging some different voices is only a good thing.

May 26, 2015 at 7:57AM

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Hi Emma,
If it is all about women, then why put age limitations...younger women isn't less vulnerable or more successful. Then its her money...she can do whatever.

May 26, 2015 at 11:00PM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1294

Wow there are a lot of loud, threatened-feeling men here telling women they are not oppressed. The thing about ingrained cultural biases is that they are hard to spot, especially from the inside. The only way to get a clearer view of the situation is education and lots of it.

If you don't think Hollywood is a boys club then you haven't been paying attention. If you want to use the argument that it's a meritocracy, that talent floats to the top, and therefore woman just aren't as talented as men (because they're obviously not well represented) then you don't understand how historically gender roles have worked.

The first rule in judging if someone is not being given equal opportunities is to talk to the people claiming oppression and hear their side.

May 28, 2015 at 12:34AM, Edited May 28, 12:34AM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
697

The ingrained bias is that women as a group feel oppressed when they don't receive favorable treatment over men.

May 28, 2015 at 5:26PM

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Gumbo
81

Doesn't it seem odd that it took Meryl Streep getting too old for the majority of female lead roles to suddenly discover a gender disparity in the film industry? Given that she's been a multi-millionaire film actress & producer for 4 decades, why did she wait so long? Is she merely buying a script development project that may end up with her getting another lead role?

May 28, 2015 at 6:00PM

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Zan Shin
195

Do you guys seriously believe what you're saying? The evidence is piling up:
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/12/hollywood-sexism-female-dire...

May 29, 2015 at 11:38PM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
697

If you're still unsure maybe you should have a read of this:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/melissasilverstein/2015/05/27/a-gender-quake...

June 1, 2015 at 1:53AM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
697