Academy announces 2009 Nicholl Screenwriting winners

Oct 29, 2009 by Ian Evans

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the six writers have been selected as winners of the 24th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Each writer or writing team will receive a prestigious $30,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at a gala dinner in Beverly Hills on November 12.

This year’s winners are (listed alphabetically by author):

  • Matt Ackley, Los Angeles, Victoria Falls
  • Vineet Dewan and Angus Fletcher, Los Angeles, Sand Dogs
  • John Griffin, Los Angeles, Dream Before Waking
  • Nidhi Anna Verghese, Los Angeles, Jallianwala Bagh
  • Jeff Williams, Wake Forest, N.C., Pure

The winners were selected from a record 6,380 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.

Final judging of the competition was conducted by the Nicholl Committee, chaired by writer and 1992 Nicholl fellow Susannah Grant, and composed of writers Naomi Foner, Daniel Petrie, Jr., Tom Rickman and Dana Stevens; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographers John Bailey and Steven B. Poster; executive Bill Mechanic; producers Gale Anne Hurd, David Nicksay, Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro; marketing executive Buffy Shutt; and agent Ronald R. Mardigian.

Fellowships are awarded with the understanding that the recipients will each complete a feature-length screenplay during their 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.