Also supported by Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films, The Writers Lab is the only virtual script development programme for women aged 40 and over.
Screen Skills Ireland is thrilled to support the launch of The Writers Lab UK & Ireland, the first script development programme of its kind for women aged 40 and over. Building on the extraordinary success of The Writers Lab US, the co-founders of the Lab are bringing a new virtual programme to the UK and Ireland from 10 – 13 June 2021, with Post-Lab virtual mentoring sessions in the months following.
The Writers Lab UK & Ireland will be produced with UK partner Untamed Stories, the creative production hub led by experienced development producers Julia Berg and Ruth Spencer; in association with Birds’ Eye View, a not-for-profit headed by Mia Bays, which champions the female perspective in film.
In addition to Screen Skills Ireland, The Lab is supported by Dirty Films, the independent film and television production company headed by Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini with development producer Georgie Pym, as well as Screen Scotland, Northern Ireland Screen and Ffilm Cymru Wales & BFI NETWORK with funding from the National Lottery.
Submissions will be open from 1 – 20 April 2021, with both Features and Pilots (both 1-hour and ½-hour) accepted for consideration. Up to 12 writers will be selected to participate in an opportunity for unique and emerging voices reflecting the diversity of the populations across Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Writers selected for the Lab will work one-on-one and in group sessions with acclaimed screen industry leaders to develop their scripts and their craft, and to build tools and strategies to achieve success. Past TWL US Mentors have included: Anne Carey (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Frida Torresblanco (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
Alumni of The Writers Lab US have gained significant recognition post-Lab: eight have landed writer-for-hire jobs; seven signed with managers or agents; two have won The Academy Nicholl Fellowship; four Lab projects have been optioned or moved into production; and the Lab will see the emergence of its first completed project in 2021, Alyson Richards’ horror film The Retreat.
Speaking about the programme, Grainne Bennett, Skills Executive at Screen Skills Ireland, said, “Screen Skills Ireland is thrilled to support this innovative script development programme, which aims to amplify the voices of women over 40 in the screen industry. The Writers Lab will support women creatives in the UK and Ireland to develop their scripts, build their skills, and connect with one another across borders. We look forward to seeing the exceptional work the writers produce!”