Academy announces winners for 2004 Nicholl Screenwriting Competition

Oct 29, 2004 by Ian Evans

Six new screenwriters, two of whom wrote collaboratively, have been selected as recipients of the 2004 Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Each writer or writing team will receive the first installment of the prestigious fellowship’s $30,000 prize money at a gala dinner in Beverly Hills on November 11. Academy Award winner Ed Zwick will be the keynote speaker at the dinner.

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

  • Fenian’s Trace, Sean Mahoney, Nicasio, California
  • The Gaza Golem, Daniel Lawrence, Los Angeles
  • Letter Quest, Doug Davidson, Baldwin, New York
  • The Secret Boy, Whit Rummel, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Split Infinity, John Sinclair and Nova Jacobs, Los Angeles
This is the second consecutive year that a script written by a team earned its writers a fellowship; collaborative efforts were first allowed into the competition in 2001. The program began in 1985.

6,073 scripts were 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.

The five 2004 fellowship-winning scripts were selected from a pool of ten of finalists by the Nicholl Committee, chaired by writer and 1992 Nicholl Fellow Susannah Grant and comprised of writers John Gay, Fay Kanin, Hal Kanter, Dan Petrie Jr. and Steven Zaillian, cinematographer Steven Poster, editor Mia Goldman, actor Eva Marie Saint, executive Bill Mechanic, producers Gale Anne Hurd, David Nicksay and Buffy Shutt, and agent Ron Mardigian. All are members of the Academy.

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.