Highly awarded and talented actress Meryl Streep has focused her philanthropic efforts on women in film, specifically women writers, by making what New York Women in Film and Television has called a significant financial contribution, according to the BBC, towards a strategy for screenwriters development. The program is to be run by NYWIFT, along with Ms. Streep, and was open to women over 40 years of age who are either citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and have written their scripts in English.
Though philanthropic in nature, Ms. Streep and the NYWIFT’s actions can be seen through a lens of patronage, and will do much to nurture the strength of the selected women’s writing, and provide a platform for diverse voices in the immense landscape that can be the film world. Caroline Keplan, the producer of the Richard Linklater film Boyhood, and Kristen Smith, the producer of Legally Blonde, will act as mentors to the women selected. The winner will also spend a week at an upstate NY retreat this fall, a perfect, albeit rare, residency situation with incredible perks.
The news of this effort to reach out to and support women in film was announced at the most recent Tribeca Film Festival. Recently, Meryl wrote all 535 members of Congress requesting the revival of the Equal Rights Amendment. This amendment, which would make it illegal for anyone to discriminate against women or girl on the basis of their sex, was originally written in 1920 and passed in 1972 but was never entered into the Constitution.