Nicholl screenwriting competition receives 6045 entries

Jun 19, 2003 by Ian Evans

The Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has received 6,045 entries this year, topping last year’s entries by one. Entries were submitted from 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and a record 38 countries, including first-time entries from Bolivia, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Malta, Romania and Zimbabwe.

Fellowships for the year 2003 will be announced in October and will be presented at a ceremony in November.

Nicholl Fellowship Program Coordinator Greg Beal said the 18-year-old competition has become widely known “as the premiere screenwriting contest for new writers all over the world.” In 2001, he said, past Nicholl Fellows had nine pictures in release, and one of the nominees that year for a writing Oscar, for the original screenplay of “Erin Brockovich,” was Susannah Grant, a 1992 Nicholl Fellow. “That could have accounted for the increase in interest in the program in the past few years,” said Beal.

The annual 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.

Up to five grants of $30,000 each will be awarded to this year’s Fellows 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.