Meryl Streep’s Writers Lab for Women Over 40 Names 2016 Mentors

Meg LeFauve (“Inside Out”) and Kirsten Smith (“The Expendabelles”) are among the mentors chosen for the September event in New York

Meryl Streep
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The Writers Lab 2016, a program funded by Meryl Streep and designed to increase movie screenwriting opportunities for women over 40, announced the lineup of mentors for its second year on Thursday.

The Writers Lab 2016 will take place from Thursday to Sunday, Sept. 22 to 25, and include 12 selected female screenwriters over 40 who will attend the four-day intensive script development retreat in New York. The event’s aim is to increase opportunities and cultivate more content written by women in the film industry, which has a bleak record in terms of gender equality.

The mentors attached to The Writers Lab 2016 include: Academy Award nominee Meg LeFauve (“Inside Out”); Gina Prince-Bythewood(“The Secret Life of Bees,” “Love & Basketball”); Caroline Kaplan (“Time Out of Mind,” “Personal Velocity”); Mary Jane Skalski (“Win Win,” “The Station Agent”), Darnell Martin (“Cadillac Records,” “I Like It Like That”), Kirsten Smith (“Legally Blonde,” upcoming “Expendabelles”) and Gurinder Chadha (“Viceroy’s House,” “Bend It Like Beckham”).

Applications to be one of the screenwriters will be accepted through April 14, and those chosen will be announced on Aug. 1. Submissions must be feature-length, fictional narrative scripts of any genre written by women over the age of 40, who are American citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

The lab is overseen by the New York Women in Film & Television organization and IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers founded by Kyle Ann Stokes, Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon to champion the female voice through fictional narrative film.

“After the overwhelming support we received from last year’s inaugural launch, it is clear the Writers Lab is a vital step in shaping a new landscape for women,” said Terry Lawler, executive director of New York Women in Film & Television.

Last year’s selected screenwriters are finishing rewrites under the guidance and mentorship provided by the lab, while a few scripts are currently in development, according to Wilon, a co-founder of IRIS.

“The Lab has manifested what most of us already know,” she said. “Women draw limitless strength and creative power from one another. Now that’s a natural sustainable energy source.”

For more information, visit the Writers Lab web site.