The issue of the lack of women working in the film industry just received a huge Meryl Streep-sized boost in the form of a substantial amount of money.
Variety reported Sunday that Streep, currently about to star in the women’s voting rights drama Suffragette, will be funding a new screenwriting lab for women over 40. The news should stir joy in the hearts of anyone who wants to see more diversity in the film industry (which should be everyone). Everyone knows that Streep is a gem among actors working today, and now she has proven to be even more awesome than we mere mortals could have anticipated.
The screenwriting lab, officially called The Writer’s Lab, will be moderated by New York Women in Film and Television and IRIS (a group of women filmmakers) and will accept submissions from May 1 to June 1. The eight winning writers will be notified on August 1 and will be mentored by female writers such as Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde), Jessica Bendinger (Bring it On), writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights), and producer Caroline Kaplan (Boyhood).
This lab is obviously a huge positive development for female screenwriters, and it’s a bonus that it focuses on women over 40. Since Hollywood is dominated by men of all shapes and ages, it’s very encouraging seeing a program with a specific focus (and now being backed by the all-powerful Meryl) that will hopefully mold these eight women into successful screenwriters who will pave the way for future female screenwriters of all ages.
And now with the recent news of a new all-female creative collective headed by Rose Byrne and other fellow Aussie actresses and filmmakers, there’s no doubt that the role of women in the film industry will grow with the help of these innovative minds. This new group will be called The Dollhouse Collective, and their goal is to produce not just films but also television and theater and “tell stories with a strong female presence,” according to one of the group’s leading members Gracie Otto.
The Writers Lab submission asks for a full length fictional narrative screenplay by June 1. Luckily enough, it can be any genre the writer wishes. For more information on the lab and how to apply, check out the NYWIFT website.