Now in its fourth year, this three-day lab consists of intensive script development with seasoned mentors. It is designed for women writers who have not yet had a feature-length fictional script produced. Screenplays must include one or more strong woman character(s) in leadership roles at the center of the story and must be feature-length narratives.

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.


Emerging writers who identify as women;

Writers cannot yet have a feature-length narrative film in pre-production or previously produced;

Projects with more than one writer may be considered upon assessment (both have to identify as women);

Scripts with a strong woman character in a leadership role at the center of the story;

Feature narrative scripts in English in the 70-to-120-page range.

Projects from all genres from and about women from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural groups.


If chosen as a finalist, you will be asked to submit a one-page personal statement.


Up to 20 finalists will be chosen and notified by December 10.

8 participants will be chosen by January 15.

This year Athena has partnered with the Sloan Foundation, which promotes the development, production, and distribution of science-themed films. We are offering a fellowship to one writer who submit STEM-themed scripts.

Overall Rating
  • 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