Genre Feature Lab launches with call-out for northern writers and production companies

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New Writing North and Film4 have joined forces to find three of the most excitingnorthernscreenwriters to take part in a unique Genre Feature Lab.  

Genre Feature Lab is a film development programme for emerging writers from across the North of England, produced by New Writing North and supported by Film4. The programme is funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority, now administered by North East Combined Authority.

Each writer will be paired with a regional production company and, following a two-day residential lab, will benefit from ongoing development with an experienced script editor to help take their early-stage idea for a feature film into a compelling treatment and deck ready to present and pitch to Film4.

The lab will be led by BAFTA-winning creative producers Ivana Mackinnon (Beast) and Emily Leo (Under the Shadow) from Wild Swim Films, who will push writers to take creative risks, ensuring their ideas reach full potential.

The project comes at an exciting time for film production, following the recent announcement of support for the UK’s independent film sector, which will see an increase of Film Tax Credit to 40% for films with budgets of up to £15m.

Genre Feature Lab is looking for boundary-pushing writers with a distinctive voice and point of view. Writers and writer-directors interested in applying should have a real appreciation and understanding of the genre they are writing for and know how to make work that subverts tropes, is smart, surprising and has the potential to reach a wide audience.

New Writing North’s new partnership with Film4 builds on its long-standing relationship with Channel 4, including the Northern Talent Network and the Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards, which support writers in the North of England to develop their work for television.

Genre Feature Lab will run from September 2024 – March 2025. The programme is now open to application from both writers based in the North of England and independent production companies based in the North of Tyne area (Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside) until 1 July 2024.

Amy O’Hara, Development and Production Executive at Film4 comments: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with New Writing North, whose reputation for nurturing writers from the North is second to none. The genre lab gives us a focussed approach to developing relationships with storytellers from the region and we’re excited by the talent and ideas we’ll discover along the way.”

Roxy McKenna, Development Producer (Screen) at New Writing North said: “Genre Feature Lab is a unique opportunity for Northern writers to learn from leading industry experts, develop bold new work and build a meaningful relationship with Film4. The support from the North of Tyne also enables us ensure North East production companies are at the heart of the programme, driving the development of cutting-edge genre work and making vital industry connections”

Find out more and apply on our Genre Feature Lab page