Academy announces Nicholl Fellowship finalists

Oct 08, 2009 by Ian Evans

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the selection of eleven writers as finalists for the 24th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Their scripts will now be read and judged by the Academy’s Nicholl Committee, which may award as many as five of the prestigious $30,000 fellowships.

This year’s finalists 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
  • Hiram Martinez, New York City, Ansiedad
  • Marleine Pacilio, Shadow Hills, Calif., Born Elizabeth Jane
  • Adriana Brad Schanen, Montclair, N.J., Gifted
  • Neil Swaab, Astoria, N.Y., Eddie Fantastic!
  • Nidhi Anna Verghese, Los Angeles, Jallianwala Bagh
  • Dan Lee West, Vancouver, Canada, Abroad
  • Jeff Williams, Wake Forest, N.C., Pure

The finalists 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.

The Nicholl Committee, chaired by writer and 1992 Nicholl fellow Susannah Grant, is 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.