Athena Film Festival LA Women’s Television and Screenwriting Labs In partnership with Stephens College MFA and IRIS

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College, in partnership with the Stephens College Master of Fine Arts in Television and Screenwriting and IRIS, have developed an exciting new television and screenwriting lab that will take place in Los Angeles in June, 2018.

The three-day program will target emerging self-identified female writers in both television and film. One day will be devoted to the film lab, one day will be an industry day, and one day will be a TV lab. The program will include mentoring sessions during which the participants are paired with established filmmakers and industry professionals, a mock television writers room, opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback, meetings with production development executives, and networking events with Athena Film Festival community members.

In our first year, our goal is to serve 16 to 20 writers—8 to 10 in film, and 8 to 10 in television—who are selected through a submissions process.
The LA Lab is a crucial next step in our targeted programming to reach women storytellers and provide them with the tools and skills they need to take control of their careers. Our goal is to offer more women in entertainment with the training and network they need to succeed, advancing stories and narratives that contribute to a more just and equal society for all.

Now more than ever we need to reframe our culture and break down traditional gender stereotypes. Elevating the voices of women, and providing women filmmakers with the expertise to realize the full potential of their projects, is crucial to changing the narrative.

For more information and to submit, click here.

The Lab Partners

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College is a weekend of inspiring films that tell the extraordinary stories of strong, bold women leaders from all walks of life—stories of ambition, courage, resilience, and moxie. The curated program includes Academy Award-nominated films, top-tier features, documentaries, and shorts—including U.S. and world premieres. It is a weekend that celebrates the stories of remarkable women— stories that need to be told and deserve to be honored.

For the last three years, the Festival has provided a range of programming for screenwriters, including master classes, workshops, panels, works-in-progress, and the Athena List sponsored by Amazon Studios, a script competition for films that are ready to be made. A similar screenwriting lab for emerging women writers in film, developed as a collaboration between the Athena Film Festival and IRIS, has been held for female screenwriters during the past two festivals.

The educational programs, trainings, and workshops at the Athena Film Festival are extremely popular, illustrating the demand that exists from women filmmakers for development and networking opportunities. For example, last year we received more than 160 applications for the four slots in our screenwriting lab, and more than 1,000 people registered to attend our master class and panels for filmmakers. Expanding this lab to Los Angeles, and broadening the scope to reach TV writers as well, we anticipate a higher number of applications and look forward to the opportunity to serve more women.

The Stephens College MFA program has established itself as a leader in increasing the number and power of women’s voices writing for television and film. Based in Los Angeles, the faculty is comprised of working writers, who work with students on a mentor basis. Mentors and guest lecturers have included award-winning writers and show runners such as Alexa Junge (Grace and Frankie), Valerie Woods (Soul Food, Any Day Now), Larry Andries (Superstition, The Pacific), as well as screenwriters such as Linda Woolverton (Lion King), Margaret Nagle (Warm Springs), and Robin Schiff (Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion). Ken LaZebnik (Prairie Home Companion) is the program’s director.

IRIS seeks to amplify the female voice through narrative film. In addition to their involvement with the Athena IRIS Screenwriting Lab, IRIS founders Elizabeth Kaiden, Kyle Ann Stokes, and Nitza Wilon created The Writers Lab, co-produced by New York Women in Film & Television, to develop screenplays written by women over 40. IRIS is committed to expanding its efforts to support and promote female screenwriters and other women in film. Mentors for the Writers Lab have included Meg LeFauve (Inside Out), Gina Prince Bythewood (Beyond the Lights), Jessica Bendinger (Aquamarine), and Darnell Martin (Cadillac Records).