Women in Film and Television UK (WFTV) has announced the first cohort of its WFTV Kay Mellor Screenwriters’ Lab.

The lab was set up in honour of multi-award winning writer Kay Mellor to spotlight and support emerging female writing talent in the film and TV industry.

The writers are Beth Bennett, Catherine Newell, Chloe Hudson, Christine McVie, Isabelle Blanche, Mariem Omari, Pasha Tong, Preethi Manuel, Rebecca Osias, Rekha Keshvara, Rhianne Deans, Sarah Louise Madden and Shay Elliot.

Hosted at the Arvon Foundation’s Lumb Bank house located in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, the 5-day writers’ lab is a fully funded opportunity for the 13 screenwriters with the programme consisting of craft writing masterclasses and workshops led by course tutors Lisa Holdsworth (Ackley Bridge, Call the Midwife, Waterloo Road) and Olivia Hetreed (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Wuthering Heights).

Evening sessions include a conversation with Happy Valley creator and writer Sally Wainwright OBE, and Life in Pictures – a retrospective look at Kay Mellor’s work with Yvonne Francas-Mellor and Gaynor Mellor, Managing Director and Creative Director at Rollem Productions.

The WFTV Kay Mellor Screenwriters’ Lab has been launched to support emerging writers who are actively working on original scripts and looking to attract industry interest in their work to take them to the next stage of their career and achieve their first film or TV screenwriting credit; whether that is looking to be represented by an Agent or Manager or pitching their project to independent production companies.

The lab is an opportunity for writers to work intensely on one script which is at final draft stage and develop it over the course of the lab to be pitch ready, create a network of peers and industry colleagues, build confidence in their craft, and “develop their writing voice in a supportive and distraction free environment.”

Katie Bailiff, CEO at WFTV UK says: “Women in Film & TV UK is thrilled to launch this new initiative which supports emerging writers and brings them together for the first WFTV Kay Mellor Screenwriters’ Lab. Kay Mellor was a talented trailblazer, we’re delighted to honour her contribution to the industry and continue her screenwriting legacy by inspiring a new wave of female screenwriters in film and TV.”

Patty Lenahan Ishimoto of Miss Scarlet Limited says, “By sponsoring WFTV’s Kay Mellor Screenwriters’ Lab we hope to inspire, incentivise and support talented women to similarly break ground and pursue a career in storytelling through content creation whether writing, producing, directing or other media.”

Yvonne Francas-Mellor (Managing Director) & Gaynor Mellor (Creative Director) at Rollem Productions say: “We are thrilled that the inaugural WFTV Kay Mellor Screenwriters’ Lab is underway, and grateful to the team at WFTV and Miss Scarlet Limited for making it happen. To continue Kay’s legacy in this way is a perfectly fitting tribute, and we hope it provides a step-up into the industry for these 13 wonderful women.”


Jon Creamer

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