EXCLUSIVE: Fremantle and HBO Max Nordic are getting behind the inaugural European edition of The Writers Lab (TWL), the program devoted exclusively to script development for women and non-binary writers over the age of 40.
Founded and produced by Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, the lab expanded from the U.S. into the UK in 2021, and its first European version is now open for submissions (until February 7) ahead of a six-month virtual program that will commence in April. Julia Berg and Ruth Spencer’s Untamed Stories are partners on the UK and European editions.
Production and distribution powerhouse Fremantle will sponsor several writers across the program, while HBO Max Nordic will sponsor one Nordic writer to participate in the lab.
New mentors added for the European edition include 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), and Nadine Labaki (Capernaum).
Up to 15 writers will be selected to participate. 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 they may be later translated into original language).
“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,” said Jennifer Mullin, Group CEO, Fremantle.
“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,” jointly added : Camilla Curtis, Creative Executive, Scripted Production, and Christopher Haug, Head of Drama Series Development, HBO Max EMEA.
European Partners 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 screen.brussels. Production companies Wildside, a Fremantle Company, and Germany-based Odeon Fiction 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.