Meryl Streep has always been a trailblazer in Hollywood. Lately, she's been helping other women become their own trailblazers by advocating for women who work behind the scenes in film.
During a panel discussion at Tribeca Film Festival in April, it was announced that Streep will fund a screenwriter's lab for women writers. Called The Writers Lab, the program aims to provide more opportunities for women screenwriters over the age of 40.
New York Women in Film and Television will run the lab alongside IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers. Influential women within the film industry are slated to participate as mentors during the program's first year. Among these mentors are writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood, producer Caroline Kaplan, and writers Kristen Smith and Jessica Bendinger, Variety reports.
From the NYWIFT website: "The only program of its kind, The Writers Lab evolved in recognition of the absence of the female voice in narrative film, along with the dearth of support for script development."
According to the Hollywood Reporter, there were over 3,500 submission. The program was then expanded to incorporate 12 recipients instead of 8.
The selected writers are: Sarah Bird, "Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen"; Vanessa Carmichael, "The American; Tracy Charlton, Raised Up"; Kellen Hertz, "Ashburn"; Anna Hozian, "Anchor Baby"; Lyralen Kaye, "St. John the Divine in Iowa"; Jan Kimbrough, "The Glastonbury Cow Party"; Billie Mason, "The Cargo"; Peres Owino, "Basketweaver"; Gretchen Somerfeld, "Face Value"; Janet Stilson, "Jaguar Trail"; and Kim Turner, "It Goes Like This."
The eight mentors participating in The Writers Lab: Jessica Bendinger ("Bring It On," "Aquamarine"), Caroline Kaplan ("Time Out of Mind," "Me and You and Everyone We Know"), Meg LeFauve ("Inside Out"), Darnell Martin ("Cadillac Records"), Lydia Dean Pilcher ("Darjeeling Limited," "The Talented Mr. Ripley"), Gina Prince-Bythewood ("Secret Life of Bees," "Beyond the Lights,") Mary Jane Skalski ("Win Win," "The Station Agent") and Kirsten Smith ("Legally Blond," "Ten Things I Hate About You").
The Writers Lab will take place September 18-20 on Lake George in upsate New York at the Wiakawa Center, which is the oldest and longest operating retreat for women in America.
Photo Credit: John Lamparski/WireImage