The Writers Lab (TWL) and its members have a lot to celebrate this month. A press release announced that the organization has selected winners of their eighth annual Writers Lab for screenwriters over the age of 40. TWL also announced the renewed endorsement from industry luminaries Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, along with the Lab’s induction into the Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors.
This year’s entries saw a significant quantity of genre scripts, especially comedy. Many also submitted historical stories about pioneering women that are, as TWL noted, “a crucial response to the current political and cultural shifts that threaten their autonomy.”
The 12 women screenwriters will receive mentorship from industry veterans during this year’s in-person script development program. Mentors confirmed for the 2022 Writers Lab include producers Susan Cartsonis (“What Women Want”) and Yvonne Russo (“Planes, Cranes and Rockets”) as well as writers Pamela Gray (“A Walk on the Moon”) and Pat Verducci (“True Crime”).
This year’s Writers Lab will have a dedicated focus on “building the tools and strategies for talented writers to develop their projects and navigate the ever-shifting landscape of professional opportunities,” TWL announced. The 2022 class will gather in Saugerties, NY this November.
The only organization committed to the empowerment of women screenwriters over the age of 40, TWL has been a champion of diversity in film and television. The Hall of Honors accolade is but a testament to TWL’s years of advocacy and support for more inclusive storytelling on the big screen.
“Women over 40 constitute 25 percent of the U.S. population. But we don’t see them on screens. Where are they? That’s what The Writers Lab is all about,” said TWL co-founder Nitza Wilon.
TWL co-founder Elizabeth Kaiden added, “Advancing diversity is crucial to our mission of spotlighting an unexplored commodity: Cinematic stories that 50 percent of the population are clamoring to see.”
The 2022 Writers Lab class and their projects are below, as are this year’s mentors.
The Writers Lab 2022
Shari Albert, Fishtown (half-hour comedy)
Stephanie Bast, FrankenFamily (half-hour comedy)
Kelly Campbell, Pyramid Scheme (feature comedy)
Shari Lynette Carpenter, Translate (half-hour dramedy)
Nic Cohen, Artemis One (feature sci-fi)
Rebecca Dreyfus, Men (feature drama)
Gwen Goodkin, The Plant (one-hour historical)
Tamara Maloney & Maeve McQuillan, Darkened Room (one-hour horror)
Arianna Ortiz, Mama, Don’t (feature thriller)
Zuri Rice, Green Hill (one-hour drama)
Roses Urquhart, This Is My Body (feature drama)
Robin Shanea Williams, Adrienne Is Always Single (feature rom-com)
The Writers Lab Mentors
Susan Cartsonis: Producer (What Women Want)
Suzanne Farwell: Producer (The Intern)
Daniela Gonzalez: Literary Manager (Good Fear Content)
Pamela Gray: Writer (A Walk on the Moon)
Yvonne Russo: Producer (Planes, Cranes and Rockets)
Mary Jane Skalski: Producer (Hello I Must Be Going)
Robin Swicord: Writer-Producer (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Pat Verducci: Writer-Director (True Crime)
Jamie Zelermyer: Producer (Before/During/After)