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Photo by Kat Smith

New York Women in Film & Television and IRIS announce  THE WRITERS LAB FOR WOMEN SCREENWRITERS OVER 40 are now open for submissions.

The Acclaimed Program for Women Over 40 Is Now in Its Fourth Year

 The Writers Lab returns in 2018, once again with funding from Oscar winner and NYWIFT Muse honoree Meryl Streep. The Writers Lab, established for women screenwriters over the age of 40 by New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) and IRIS, in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America, East, selects leading filmmakers to provide exclusive mentorship and increase opportunities for content made by women. This year The Writer’s Lab is welcoming International Submissions in English.

Photo by Kat Smith

The Writers Lab 2018 will take place Tuesday, September 25 – Saturday, September 29, 2018, and will include a select group of female screenwriters for a four-day intensive script development retreat with acclaimed mentors. Mentors already attached to The Writers Lab 2018 include: Pamela GrayMary Jane Skalski, and Pat Verducci.

“The Writers Lab provides one-of-a-kind support to a grossly underserved demographic. Now more than ever, it is vital that our media landscape provides a platform for all voices,” says Terry Lawler, Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television. “We are pleased to extend the submissions this year to international candidates, so that the stories that come out of the Lab will be representative of the global community.”

“We’ve been addressing the gender imbalance in film for four years, and we’re elated to be in such good company this year,” says IRIS Co-Founder Elizabeth Kaiden.” Let’s hope we’ve finally reached the tipping point, because women’s stories absolutely belong on the screen.”

The selected screenwriters will be announced August 1. Submissions must be feature-length, fictional narrative scripts of any genre written in English by women over the age of 40.

 The Writers Lab was launched in 2015 to provide script development for women writers over the age of 40. It creates a springboard for scripts to reach the next stage of production and expands the diversity of narrative film.


  • Five writers have their first writer-for-hire jobs
  • Three writers have their first manager and agent
  • One writer won a teaching job at a university
  • One of our inaugural scripts has been optioned by a production/financing company with a director attached
  • One inaugural script has been optioned by an Oscar-nominated director
  • One writer was awarded the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship for screenwriting


For more information and to submit, please visit Applications will be available now


Questions? Email or go The Writers Lab FAQs

About IRIS

IRIS was founded in New York City in 2013 by Nitza Wilon, Kyle Ann Stokes, and Elizabeth Kaiden to champion the female voice in fictional narrative film. A co-founder of The Writers Lab for women over 40, and partner in the Athena IRIS Lab for emerging women writers, IRIS supports and promotes women writers and filmmakers.For more information, please visit:

About New York Women in Film & Television:


New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) advocates for equality in the moving image industry and supports women in every stage of their careers. As the preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT energizes women by illuminating their achievements, presenting training and professional development programs, awarding scholarships and grants, and providing access to a supportive community of peers. NYWIFT brings together nearly 2,500 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 50 women in film chapters worldwide, representing more than 15,000 members. NYWIFT is a nonprofit 501c3 public charity. More information can be found online at:

The Writers Lab is funded by Meryl Streep for the fourth year, and produced by IRIS and New York Women In Film & Television in collaboration with the Writers Guild of AmericaEast, with support from The Black List, Relativity Media, Stony Brook Southampton+Manhattan, and Tribeca Film Institute.



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