Academy Announces Nicholl Screenwriting Competition Finalists

by Ali Gitlow

AMPAS, which hosts the annual Academy Awards ceremony, sponsors the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Photo courtesy of AMPAS.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has come up with ten finalists for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. The Nicholl Committee will now read the scripts and give the $30,000 fellowships to up to five of the films. Once a script receives the grant, it is to be turned into a feature-length screenplay during the fellowship year.

This year's list of finalists brings about a few firsts for the Nicholl Fellowships. The script for "Linda and Henry" by Tejal K. Desai of Middletown, Connecticut and Brian C. Wray of Brooklyn, New York is the first screenplay written by more than one person to become a finalist. Brian M. Logan, writer of "The Nihilist, the Bag and the Rock n' Roll Laundrette," is from New South Wales, making him the first ever Australian finalist. There is also a finalist from Canada, "Revival" by Annie Reid, marking the first time the list of finalists has been comprised of more than one non-U.S. country.

Three of the ten finalists hail from California. Bragi F. Schut, Jr. ("Season of the Witch") and James N. Mottern ("Trucker") are from Los Angeles, while Bennett M. Cohen ("Courting Destiny") is from San Francisco. The other finalists are: "Augmentation" by Andrea R. Herman of Roswell, Georgia; "The Blessed Fellowship" by Michele Hackman of Waterloo, Iowa; "The Bone Orchard" by Ronson Page of Dallas, Texas; and "Random Thoughts on Self-Destruction" by Ryan M. Smith of Milford, Ohio.

These finalists were chosen out of 6,048 submitted this year. Seventy-five fellowships have been given since 1985. Mike Rich's "Radio," Karen Moncrieff's "Blue Car," Ehren Kruger's "The Ring," and Allison Anders' "Gas Food Lodging" are among the successful titles which participated in the program.