The Academy announces ten finalists for the 2012 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. The next step is having their scripts read and judged by the fellowship committee, which can choose to award up to five $35,000 fellowships. This year's finalists were chosen from 7,197 scripts, among them the first entry ever chosen from South Africa to advance this far. Winners will be announced later this month, followed by a ceremony on November 8 at the Beverly Wilshire.
The finalists are listed below, along with further information on the fellowship.
Nikole Beckwith, New York City, NY, "Stockholm, Pennsylvania"
Ryan Belenzon & Jeffrey Gelber, Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks, CA, "X"
Robert Carter, Red Bank, NJ, "A.W.O.L."
Sean Robert Daniels, Laezonia, Gauteng, South Africa, "Killers"
James DiLapo, New York City, NY, "Devils at Play"
Allan Durand, Lafayette, LA, "Willie Francis Must Die Again"
Laurel Minter, Seattle, WA, "When Thunder Sleeps"
Bob Roden, Berkeley, CA, "Return of the Dipsticks"
April Rouveyrol, Glendale, CA, "Life Copy"
Michael Werwie, Los Angeles, Calif., "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile"
The Nicholl competition is open to any individual who has not earned more than $5,000 writing for film or television or received a fellowship prize that includes a "first look" clause, an option, or any other quid pro quo involving the writer's work. Entry scripts must be feature length and the original work of a sole author or of exactly two collaborative authors. The scripts must have been written originally in English. Adaptations and translated scripts are not eligible.
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.
The Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee is chaired by producer Gale Anne Hurd and includes writers Naomi Foner, Daniel Petrie, Jr., Tom Rickman and Dana Stevens; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographers John Bailey and Steven B. Poster; costume designer Vicki Sanchez; executive Bill Mechanic; producers Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro; marketing executive Buffy Shutt; and agent Ronald R. Mardigian.
Since the program's inception in 1985, 123 fellowships have been awarded. Among the recent achievements by Nicholl fellows: Destin Daniel Cretton wrote and directed "I Am Not a Hipster," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; Raymond De Felitta's documentary "Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story" premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival; Andrew Marlowe created and executive produces the ABC series "Castle"; Rebecca Sonnenshine serves as a writer and story editor on the WB series "The Vampire Diaries"; Jeffrey Eugenides' third novel, The Marriage Plot, was a 2012 National Book Critics Circle award nominee; Jason Micallef wrote "Butter," premiering theatrically on October 5; and Jacob Aaron Estes wrote and directed "The Details," premiering theatrically on November 2.