No one ever needed another reason to love Meryl Streep, and yet, throughout the decades, the reasons have kept — and will surely continue to keep — piling up. This week’s addition to the pile is that Streep has funded a lab for women screenwriters over the age of 40, to be run by New York Women in Film and Television and a collective of women filmmakers called IRIS. News of the lab’s inception was announced during a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday.
The lab — titled, simply, Writers Lab — will be accepting submissions from May 1 to June 1, after which eight applicants will be named. By nature, it aims to combat the deeply ageist and sexist trends — which are, of course, insidiously linked — in the screenwriting world. Allegedly, Streep donated a hefty sum to get the lab started; in its first year, influential figures such as Boyhood producer Caroline Kaplan, Beyond the Lights writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood, Bring it On writer Jessica Bendinger and Legally Blonde writer Kirsten Smith will be mentoring participants at an Upstate NY retreat.