Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman Reaffirm Commitment to Women Screenwriters


The Writers Lab for Women Screenwriters over the age of 40 Still Vital

12 Winners Selected for 9th Annual Lab


New York, NY – August 2, 2023 – The Writers Lab today announced that renewed support from steadfast champions Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman will enable twelve more writers to attend its ninth annual lab. Their renewed support, alongside the Lab’s growth overseas, expands access and presents a call to action to an industry that continues to exclude fiercely talented women and nonbinary content creators.

This year, the Lab welcomes Alison Small and Krissy Wall, head of Film and TV respectively at Brownstone Productions, to share development tips from Elizabeth Banks’ female-forward company. They will join a powerhouse roster of Writer Mentors that includes Debora Cahn (The Diplomat), Anya Epstein (The Affair), Amy Fox (Equity), Pamela Gray (A Walk on the Moon), Rita Hsiao (Mulan), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out), Robina Lord-Stafford (Moonshine), Erica Saleh (One Of Us Is Lying), Susan Seidelman (She-Devil), Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Pat Verducci (True Crime). 


“Women over 40 make up 25% of the world population, and women over 50 control $19 billion, yet this demographic remains ignored by Hollywood and streamers. AI won’t change that—only women will,” said co-founder Elizabeth Kaiden.

“This year,  submissions were more impressive than ever: The vision, creativity, quality, and wit were epic. It’s past time to pull our heads out of our… inertia and revitalize the landscape,” added co-founder Nitza Wilon.


The 14 selected women screenwriters over 40 (listed below) will gather in early November in Saugerties, NY, and will focus on tools and strategies to navigate the ever-shifting landscape of professional opportunities. Writers will work with accomplished women creatives to elevate their craft, community and careers.


Produced by cofounders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, as a Signature Program of New York Women in Film & Television, The Writers Lab partners with with the Writers Guild of America, East, The Black List, Falco Ink, Film Fatales, Final Draft, Roadmap Writers, and Untamed Stories. The only lab in the world devoted exclusively to script development for women writers over the age of 40, The Writers Lab is supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, the Ravenal Foundation and Kate Hall & Gary Lynch.

Past TWL Mentors and Guests have included:Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On), Susan Cartsonis (What Women Want), Lisa Cortés (All In: The Fight for Democracy),Riva Marker (The Kids Are All Right), Darnell Martin (Cadillac Records), Lydia Dean Pilcher (Queen of Katwe), Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King), Mary Jane Skalski (The Station Agent), Frida Torresblanco (Pan’s Labyrinth), Kirsten Smith (10 Things I Hate About You) and Tracey Scott Wilson (Respect).


Three Lab projects have been produced and released, with another seven currently in pre-production. The Writers Lab remains the only organization in the world to focus on this formidable cohort, working exclusively with women over the age of 40 and advocating for the value of experience, expertise and script development to generate quality content. Alumnae of The Writers Lab have been signed by representation (28) and hired to write (16) in numbers that far exceed the industry average, confirming the curatorial instincts and program value of the endeavor.

“Every year we at NYWIFT are consistently impressed by the creativity, talent, and diversity in storytelling that comes from the applicants to The Writers Lab. As the program enters its ninth year, we are thrilled to see graduates from The Lab achieve success in our competitive industry, allowing the voices of experienced women to become the norm rather than the exception,” said NYWIFT CEO Cynthia Lopez. “Thank you to Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman for their ongoing support of the nurturing of this vital talent.”

The 12 participants of The Writers Lab 2023 are Louisa Kendrick Burton, The Charge (One-Hour Drama); Shari Lynette Carpenter, Translate (Half-Hour Dramedy); Helena Cho, The Last Buddha (One-Hour Fantasy); Marya Cohn, Hurricane Season (Feature Drama); Lesley Fera, Inconceivable (Half-Hour Comedy); Brooke Hemphill, Apotcalypse (Feature Comedy); Justina Ireland, Bleeding Kansas (One-Hour Horror); Tricia Lee, Good Chance (Feature Drama); Betsy Nagler, Priceless (One Hour Adventure); Lisa Ramirez & Michele Noble, Fifty (Half-Hour Dramedy); Sarah Sinclair, The Stratford Wife (One-Hour Drama); Jill Twiss, Bee (Half-Hour Comedy).


The 12 Winning Projects with Loglines:

APOTCALYPSE, Feature Comedy

By Brooke Hemphill

A stoner’s mission to find her sister comes a cropper when victims of a raging pandemic rise from the dead.

You can find Brooke on X @broohem

Brooke Hemphill


BEE, ½-hour Comedy

By Jill Twiss

When a chronic underachiever traces everything wrong with her life back to losing the National Spelling Bee as a child, she devotes her life to getting revenge on the winner.

You can find Jill on X @jilltwiss

Jill Twiss


BLEEDING KANSAS, 1-hour Supernatural

By Justina Ireland

When her daughter is kidnapped by an ancient vampire, a Black woman ruled by violence must reunite with her past flame, reopening old wounds as they track the missing girl across the 1874 Kansas prairie.

Justina Ireland


FIFTY½-hour Dark Comedy

ByLisa Ramirez & Michele Noble

When Lily blows up her perfect cul-de-sac life at her surprise 50th birthday party,  she flees to NYC to reignite her 20-something dreams with nothing but a bottle of Dom and her Hasselblad camera to finally come of age at 50.

You can find Michele on X @noblemichele

Lisa Ramirez

Michele Noble


GOOD CHANCE, Feature Dramedy

By Tricia Lee

When a feisty transgender teen crosses paths with a church-going, undocumented Asian woman, the clash of lifestyles leads to a life-saving bond.

You can find Tricia on X @tricialdirector

Tricia Lee



By Marya Cohn

As a hurricane approaches, the manager at a Louisiana refinery must choose between her home and livelihood and facing the realities of climate change, for her daughter’s sake.

You can find Marya on X @MaryaCohn

Marya Cohn


INCONCEIVABLE, ½-hour Dark Comedy

By Lesley Fera

After another soul-crushing miscarriage, a Midwest grade school teacher stumbles upon her true bloody calling — saving children from the mofos who prey on them.

You can find Lesley on X @LesleyFera

Lesley Fera


PRICELESS, 1-hour Thriller

By Betsy Nagler

While searching for the legendary Amber Room, Sotheby’s Head of Antiquities and her team take on spies, thieves, cutthroat competitors and personal demons, as they confront the question of who owns history.

You can find Betsy on X @betsynagler 

Betsy Nagler


THE CHARGE, 1-hour Mystery

By Louisa Kendrick Burton

A widowed mother of four struggles with her job, her angst-ridden teen, and her haunting grief over the death of her husband—whom she discovers is alive.

You can find Louisa on X @Louisa_Kendrick

Louisa Kendrick


THE LAST BUDDHA, 1-hour Fantasy

By Helena Cho

When the Dalai Lama is reborn as a girl, she is hidden and trained in the mystical and martial arts until the time comes for her to take on the Red Army and save the region from unending turmoil.

Helena Cho



By Sarah Sinclair

A daring Elizabethan playwright must use her husband’s name and manage his ego to see her plays performed, until she can no longer bear to watch William Shakespeare’s fame soar on the wings of her genius.

You can find Sarah on X @SESinclair

Sarah E. Sinclair


TRANSLATE, ½-hour Dramedy

By Shari Lynette Carpenter

When two queer, black creatives and romantic partners are presented with an unexpected career opportunity, the allure of success pushes their relationship to the breaking point. 

Shari Lynette Carpenter



Cofounded by Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, with Kyle Ann Stokes, The Writers Lab is produced with New York Women in Film & Television, The Writers Lab is dedicated to developing narrative scripted content written by diverse women over the age of 40. With industry veterans, the Lab elevates the work of women screenwriters in their prime through mentorship, advocacy and exposure. Alumni have been staffed in writers rooms, signed with managers and agents, landed deals and moved their scripts into production. In addition to the flagship US Lab, TWL now produces Labs for women writers over 40 in the UK & Ireland and Europe.

For more information visit

Follow on all social platforms @The_Writers_Lab


New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) connects, educates, and advocates for women to accelerate diversity in media. As the preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT energizes women by illuminating their achievements, presenting training and professional development programs, awarding scholarships and grants, and providing access to a supportive community of peers. NYWIFT brings together more than 2,500 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 60 women in film organizations worldwide, representing more than 15,000 members. NYWIFT is a nonprofit 501c3 public charity.


More information can be found online at:


Follow on all social media platforms @NYWIFT.

NYWIFT Media contact: Katie Chambers, Sr. Director of Community & Public Relations at NYWIFT:, (212) 679-0870, ext. 23


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