The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab is for emerging women writers who have not had a feature-length narrative script produced within the past 10 years. Writers must submit a screenplay that includes a woman or women characters in a leadership role or position at the center of the story. Scripts must be feature-length narratives (between 80 and 120 pages).

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab provides women identified storytellers with training, skills, and a robust supportive network. Participants will have several one-on-one mentoring sessions with experienced screenwriters as well as peer-to-peer and group sessions.

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab will also include industry events where participants will learn about how to navigate the industry as well as a keynote conversation from an established filmmaker. Past panels have included The Fluidity of Writing, How Does Representation Work, and The Art of Pitching, and past keynotes have come from Gina Prince-Bythewood and Kat Candler.

The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College Virtual Writers Lab will take place the week of July 27.

Sponsored by Lifetime

About WIST: Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon formed WIST (Women in the Script Trade) to work with exceptional women screenwriters, develop promising projects for production, and manage script development labs. They are co-founders of The Writers Lab for women over 40 (produced with New York Women in Film & Television and supported by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman), and run the Athena Film Festival Labs for emerging women writers in New York and Los Angeles.

-Scripts must have a woman (girl) or women character(s) in leadership role(s) or position(s). Projects from all genres are accepted, and stories about women from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups;
-Writers who identify as women. Projects with more than one writer may be considered (both writers have to identify as women);
-Writers cannot have had a feature-length narrative script produced within the past 10 years (Projects must have been completed before January 1, 2010);
-Scripts must be written in English and should be 80 to 120 pages long;
-If chosen as a finalist, you will be asked to submit a one-page personal statement;
-If you have been on the Athena List, you can submit a project, but it CANNOT be a script that was on the Athena List;
-If you have previously attended the lab, you cannot reapply for five years, but if you have been a part of the TV lab, you can submit a project to the Screenwriters lab and vice-versa;
-If you have submitted a script previously and were not accepted, you must submit a new draft for it to be considered;
- All Notifications will go out by July 1
- 6 participants will be chosen by July 13

Overall Rating
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  • The most amazing, supportive, creative experience - I HIGHLY recommend it to any screenwriter, new or experienced. Very well organized and executed, very helpful in all aspects of your craft - and FUN!

    June 2019
  • Jane Therese

    This was an amazing experience.

    June 2019
  • Heather Upton

    An amazing lab experience! Thoughtful, well organized, nurturing, engaging and effective. It was a fantastic experience and I came away both inspired and with tons of practical advice. I can't say enough good things about the Athena Lab, and Nitza and Elizabeth, who run it. Definitely apply!

    March 2019
  • Bridget Bell McMahon

    This lab was a profound experience. The fiercely creative women at its helm (Melissa, Kitty, Nitza, Elizabeth and Kristin) should run the world. Thank you to all involved. This supportive, encouraging, inspiring program was a gift.

    July 2018