Academy announces finalists for 2003 Nicholl Screenwriting Competition.

Oct 17, 2003 by Ian Evans

Ten scripts have been selected as finalists for the 2003 Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The scripts will now be read and judged by the Nicholl Committee, which may award as many as five of the prestigious $30,000 fellowships.

This year’s finalists are (listed alphabetically by script title):

  • Augmentation Andrea R. Herman; Roswell, Georgia
  • The Blessed Fellowship Michele Hackman; Waterloo, Iowa
  • The Bone Orchard Ronson. Page; Dallas, Texas
  • Courting Destiny Bennett M. Cohen; San Francisco, California
  • Linda and Henry Tejal K. Desai and Brian C. Wray; Middletown, Connecticut and Brooklyn, New York, respectively
  • The Nihilist, the Bag and the Rock ‘n Roll Launderette Brian M. Logan; Lane Cove, New South Wales, Australia
  • Random Thoughts on Self-Destruction Ryan M. Smith; Milford, Ohio
  • Revival Annie Reid; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Season of the Witch Bragi F. Schut Jr.; Los Angeles, California
  • Trucker James N. Mottern; Los Angeles
This is the first time that a script written collaboratively has made it to the finalist round; collaborative efforts were first allowed into the competition in 2001. This year also marks the first time an entry from Australia has become a finalist, and it is the first time that the finalist group includes scripts from more than one country outside the United States (Australia and Canada).

The finalists were selected from a record 6,048 scripts submitted for this year’s competition. The competition is open to any individual who has not sold or optioned a screenplay or teleplay for more than $5,000 or received a fellowship or prize that includes a “first look” clause, an option, or any other quid pro quo involving the writer’s work.

These ten scripts will now be judged by the Nicholl Committee, chaired by writer Fay Kanin and comprised of writers John Gay, Susannah Grant, Hal Kanter, Dan Petrie Jr., Tom Rickman and Steven Zaillian, cinematographer John Bailey, editor Mia Goldman, actor Eva Marie Saint, producers David Nicksay and Buffy Shutt, and agent Ronald Mardigian. Fellowships are awarded with the understanding that the recipients will each complete a feature-length screenplay during the fellowship year. The Academy acquires no rights to the works of Nicholl Fellows and does not involve itself commercially in any way with their completed scripts.