– Fremantle and HBO Max Nordic are backing the initiative which was first launched in the US and later expanded to the UK
Jasmila Žbanić and Christina Ham, two of the mentors
Writers Lab Europe (TWL Europe), with support from Fremantle and HBO Max Nordic, has announced the first-of-its-kind virtual script development program for women over 40.
The Writers Lab is the only program devoted exclusively to developing screenplays for women and non-binary writers over 40. Originally founded in the United States, the American program is supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidmanand 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 to the UK in 2021 with Cate Blanchettfrom Dirty Movies.
This six-month virtual program for European writers will be held in April 2022, with ongoing mentoring, development and market sessions in the following months. Submissions of feature films and pilots (both 1 hour and ½ hour) will be accepted for review in the English language (at the discretion of the authors and financiers, may be later translated into their original language). Aided by the support of partners, up to 15 writers will be selected to take part in an opportunity for unique and emerging voices reflecting the diversity of populations across the whole European region.
Director Lynne Ramsaywho mentored The Writers Lab UK and Ireland 2021, said:
“It’s incredible support for talented filmmakers to have the chance to create and direct their feature films…which, in a nurturing environment, is essential.”
Fremantle, alongside its Italian production label Wild sidewill support the initiative by sponsoring several writers through the program.
HBO Max Nordic will sponsor a Nordic writer to participate in the lab.
European partners also include german moviesthe Dutch Film Fund, Ireland Screenthe Polish Film Institutethe Austrian Film Institute, ORFFISA – Support for the Film Industry Austria, Aurora Studios of Finland, Rabbit Films, Film Tampere, City of Helsinki and screen.brussels.
The aforementioned Wildside also joins alongside Germany-based Odeon Fiction.
The laboratory 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 list 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 Zbanic (Quo Vadis, Aida? [+see also:
interview: Jasmila Žbanić
film profile]), Christine Ham (Them), Jantje Friese (Dark), Isabelle 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 and Ava [+see also:
film profile]), and Nadine Labaki (Capernaum [+see also:
Untamed Stories, the co-producers of The Writers Lab Europe, said:
“We are thrilled to expand this lab to the European region, continuing the mission of nurturing talented screenwriters over 40 years old. We are so grateful to the lab’s American founders – Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon – and for the support of all the European partners and incredible mentors who ensure that this important demographic group has the opportunity to develop their material, have better access, have their stories exposed and hopefully realized – to ensure a more inclusive industry.”
Applications are open until February 7, 2022. Find full details and apply at https://writers.coverfly.com/competitions/view/twl-europe-2022