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New York-based The Writers Lab has launched The Writers Lab U.K. and Ireland, with a script development program for women over 40. The initiative is supported by Dirty Films, the production company headed by Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini with development producer Georgie Pym.

The Writers Lab is the only program devoted exclusively to script development for woman-identifying writers over 40. The U.K. lab will be produced with U.K. partner Untamed Stories, the creative production hub helmed by development producers Julia Berg and Ruth Spencer. It is in association with Birds’ Eye View, the not-for-profit that champions the female perspective in film headed by Mia Bays.

The virtual lab will be held June 10-13 and applications will open April 1. Submissions of features and pilots will be accepted for consideration and up to 12 writers reflecting the diversity of the populations across Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland will be selected.

In a statement, Blanchett, Upton and Francini said: “The incredible work that The Writers Lab are doing in providing a platform for underrepresented creative voices resonates deeply with all of us at Dirty Films, so we jumped at the opportunity to support their expansion to the U.K. and Ireland. We’re excited to see the results of this year’s lab and we look forward to working with Untamed Stories, NYWIFT and The Writers Lab to discover some of the amazing untapped talent in this region.”

Elizabeth Kaiden, The Writers Lab co-founder, said: “Julia and Ruth of Untamed Stories are an astounding force whose vision and energy is infectious. We’re thrilled to be working with them and look forward to welcoming this new cohort of writers into our community of exceptional, experienced and diverse alumni.”

Bays said: “We are delighted to be a part of The Writers Lab U.K. and Ireland 2021 and the mission to amplify the oft-unheard voices of women over 40 – addressing ageism and sexism in the screen industry – an industry that, not surprisingly, overlooks the many benefits to being an older writer – such as more life experience and a greater understanding of human motivation.”

Supporters also include Screen Scotland, Screen Skills Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, Ffilm Cymru Wales and BFI Network.

The U.S. program, produced by co-founders Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, and New York Women in Film & Television, is supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Oprah Winfrey.