The Athena Film Festival Writers Lab is a three-day creative development workshop for emerging women and non-binary writers, providing storytellers with creative guidance, training, industry access, and a valuable, supportive network.

Applicants must submit a project that includes a woman or women characters in a leadership role or position at the center of the story. Eligible writers have not had a tv script or feature-length screenplay produced within the past 10 years. The labs are held in partnership with the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.

Submissions are now open for two labs: our November virtual lab and our March in-person lab. These two labs support both feature film screenwriters and television writers.
The Virtual Lab will take place November 16- 18, 2022
The In-Person Lab will take place March 1-3, 2023

Both Labs Feature:
One-on-One mentoring sessions, providing direct project feedback, with experienced writers and industry experts
Pitch Workshops
Mock Writers Room, for television writers
Industry Day Events including panels, and keynote speakers

*Labs are identical - aside from location.

When applying, please select one category:
Virtual Writers Lab Category (Submissions Open August 1 - September 6)
This Writers Lab will be a completely virtual lab and will take place online from November 16-18, 2022.

In-Person Writers Lab Category (Submissions Open August 1 - November 11)
This Writers Lab will take place in person, in New York City on the Barnard College campus from March 1-3, 2023. Please note that Athena does not provide travel funds, flights, or accommodations.

You may apply for both the Virtual and In-Person Writers labs. Please apply to virtual first and a question in the application will denote that you would like to be considered for both. 

-Projects must have a woman (girl) or women character(s) in leadership role(s) or position(s). Projects from all genres are accepted, we look for stories about women from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups;

-Writers who are women, non-binary, and gender non-conforming are eligible to apply; Projects with more than one writer may be considered as long as all writers identify as women, non-binary, or gender non-conforming;

-Writers cannot have had a pilot that was picked up within the past 10 years - Projects must have been completed before January 1, 2013;

-Projects (features) must be written in English and between 80 and 120 pages;

-If chosen as a finalist, you will be asked to submit the answers to additional questions;

-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;

-Submissions must be the original work of the entrant(s) and may not be based, in whole or in part, on any other fiction or nonfiction material, published or unpublished, produced or unproduced. Entries may, however, be adapted for the entrant’s (or entrants’) original work, which should be noted in the logline required on the application form. Entries lacking a logline on the application form will be disqualified.

-If the script is based on a true story, historical or contemporary, this must be noted in the logline required on the application form with the phrase “based on true

-Finalists for the Virtual Lab will be notified by October 10, 2022.
-Finalists for the In-Person Lab will be notified by January 31, 2023.

Overall Rating
  • Anu Sukhdial

    The Lab was an amazing experience the whole way through - from the first day sessions with peers and mentors to the second day when we got advice/guidance on how to break into the industry. It is clear the Athena organizers put in tremendous work to make the Lab a wonderful experience for the writers. Will recommend/have already recommended the Lab highly to fellow writers and colleagues!

    September 2021
  • 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