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Fremantle and HBO Max, Nordic support the European Launch of The Writers Lab for Women Screenwriters 40+

Photo Credits, left to right: Fabio Lovino, Ken Gonzales, Kenneth Dolin

The Writers Lab Europe (TWL Europe) is delighted to announce support from Fremantle and HBO Max, Nordic with the first virtual script development programme of its kind for women over 40. Submissions open now until 7th February 2022Learn more and apply HERE.

The Writers Lab, produced by co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, is the only programme devoted exclusively to script development for women and non-binary writers over 40. Originally founded in the US, the US programme is supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and 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 has expanded into the UK in 2021 with Cate Blanchett´s Dirty Films and now into Europe in 2022.

Fremantle, the production and distribution powerhouse behind hit dramas and films such as Mosquito CoastThe Investigation and Sorrentino’s The Hand of God is supporting The Writers Lab Europe, where, alongside its award-winning Italian production label Wildside (My Brilliant Friend, Anna) will back the initiative by sponsoring several writers across the programme.

HBO Max, Nordic will sponsor one Nordic writer to participate in the Lab. HBO Max began its global rollout launching in markets across Latin America and the Caribbean last summer, followed by its first European launches in the Nordics and Spain.

European Partners also include German Films, The Netherlands Filmfund, Screen Ireland, The Polish Film Institute, The Austrian Film Institute, ORF, FISA – Film Industry Support Austria, Aurora Studios from  Finland, Rabbit Films, Film Tampere, City of Helsinki and Award winning European based production companies Wildside, a Fremantle Company (My Brilliant Friend, The Miracle, Anna) and Germany-based Odeon Fiction (Spy City) also join. The Lab 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.

More mentors are added to the European line up including Valeria Golino (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) and Zackary Drucker (Transparent). They join guests and mentors Susanne Bier (The Night Manager), Jasmila Žbanić (Quo Vadis, Aida?), Christina Ham (Them), Jantje Friese (Dark), Isabel Coixet (Secret Life of Words), Ameenah Ayub Allen (Rocks, Ali & Ava), and Nadine Labaki (Capernaum).

This six-month virtual programme for European writers will be held April 2022, with ongoing mentoring, development and marketplace sessions in the months following. Submissions of both Features and Pilots (both 1-hour and ½-hour) will be accepted for consideration in English language (on writers and financiers´ discretion may be later translated into original language).  Aided by the support of partners, up to 15 writers will be selected to participate in an opportunity for unique and emerging voices reflecting the diversity of the populations across the whole European region.

Submissions open now until  7th February 2022. Find all details and apply HERE.

Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) who mentored in The Writers Lab UK and Ireland 2021 says about this Lab: “It’s incredible support for talented filmmakers to get a chance to hothouse and realise their feature films ….which in a nurturing environment is essential.”

Untamed Stories, the Co-producers of The Writers Lab Europe state: “ We are excited to expand this Lab into the European region, continuing the mission to uplift talented women screenwriters who are 40+. We are so grateful for the US founders of the Lab – Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon and for the support of all the European partners and incredible mentors who ensure that this important demographic has the opportunity to develop their material, gain greater access, get their stories exposed and hopefully made – to ensure a more inclusive industry.”

FREMANTLE: Jennifer Mullin, Group CEO, Fremantle said: “Today’s announcement underlines our commitment at Fremantle to proudly support the production community and the diverse and exceptional talent it represents.  It’s our obligation and our responsibility, to empower others, and we are delighted to back women and non-binary writers over 40 through this incredible creative initiative, giving them the opportunity to tell their stories within a supported space.”

HBO MAX: Camilla Curtis, Creative Executive, Scripted Production, and Christopher Haug, Head of Drama Series Development, HBO Max EMEA said: Our (HBO Max Nordic Local Original Production) commitment to commission and create diverse and compelling local content for HBO Max and the Writers Lab’s impending quest to find and nurture previously undiscovered writing talent is a match made in heaven. We are thrilled to be part of the prestigious Writers Lab’s first outing in Europe and are looking forward to this opportunity to collaborate with great new talent.” 

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