By Indiewire | Indiewire October 21, 1998 at 2:00AM
Finalists; Taylor Thomas Joins 'Egypt'; PGF Green-lights LaBute Pic
Compiled by Mark Rabinowitz
>> Academy Names Nicholl Winners
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has announced
the winners of the 1998 Don and Gee Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships to
five new writers who will each receive $25,000, and are each expected to
complete a feature-length screenplay in the Fellowship year. Chosen from
eleven finalists announced earlier this month, the winners are Jacob A.
Estes, for "Mean Creek"; Robert H. Gyde, for "Jelly-Babies"; Donna
McNeely, for "Julia's Child"; Karen M. Moncrieff, for "Blue Car," and
Michael A. Rich, for "Finding Forrester."
Of the 53 screenwriters that have been received fellowships to date,
several have gone on to have successful screenwriting careers,
including 1992 Fellow Susannah Grant ("Ever After: A Cinderella Story"),
1993 Fellow Myron Goble scripted Maya Angelou's directorial debut, "Down
in the Delta," 1989 Fellow Mark Lowenthal's "Where The Elephant Sits"
world premiered at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival, and 1996 Fellow Ehren
Kruger's "Arlington Road" is set to be released in January 1999. In
addition, 1997 saw the release of four films written by previous
fellowship winners, including Max Adams ("Excess Baggage"), Andrew
Marlowe ("Air Force One"), Randall McCormick ("Speed 2") and Jim McGlynn
("Traveller"). Other past fellowship winners include Allison Anders
("Gas Food Lodging," "Mi Vida Loca"), Radha Bharadwaj ("Closet Land,"
"Basil") and Raymond De Felitta ("Cafe Society").
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(Oct 22, 1997) AMPAS Names Nicholl Fellowship Honorees
>>MIFF Finalists Announced
The Minnesota Film Board and IFP/North have announced the 10 finalists
for the 1998 Minnesota Independent Film Fund (MIFF), which will be
narrowed to two or three winners, to be announced on November 30th in
Minneapolis. The MIFF awards, totaling $75,000, are given to Minnesota
filmmakers developing feature narratives. Among the finalists for the
awards are indie notables Sarah Jacobson, whose "Mary Jane's Not A Vrgin
Anymore" has screened at festivals around the world, including the 1997
Sundance Film Festival and Mark Edgington, whose "Anna in the Sky"
screened at several film festivals and picked up the best of the fest
award at the 1998 Big Muddy Film Festival. Jacobson, a Minnesota native,
is developing her script "Sleaze," while Edgington is developing
Other finalists include Neal Karlen, for his script "Angels on a
Balcony"; Wendell Jon Andersson for "As the Night the Day"; Eric Howell
for his "The Good Friday Club"; Karla Ekdahl and Frances Wilkinson for
their script entitled "Hollow Mack," and Peter Olsen for his script "Ice
Nine." The remaining three finalists are Shelli Ainsworth, for "Stay The
Go"; Jim Berg, for "Still Life," and Anne Sundberg for "What Happened to
Tully." The MIFF is sponsored by Northwest Airlines and the McKnight
Foundation, and was created by the Minnesota Film Board and operated in
conjunction with the IFP/North.
>> Talyor Thomas Heads To 'Egypt.'
According to Daily Variety, Jonathan Taylor Thomas has joined Ellen
Burstyn, Kevin Pollak and Mark Hamill to star in Arthur Allan
Seidelman's under $5 million film, "Walking Across Egypt." The film's
script was written by Paul Tamasy from Clyde Edgerton's novel. The film
is being produced by Tamasy, and Mitchum Entertainment's Bettina O'Mara
and Heath McLaughlin ("Just Write"), and Madeline Bell, and is financed
through private equity. The film currently has no deal for domestic
>> LaBute Film Gets Green Light
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment has given the go-ahead to director Neil
LaBute and Propaganda Films' upcoming comedy "Nurse Betty," according to
The Hollywood Reporter. Set to begin shooting on December 7th in Los
Angeles, the film stars Renee Zellweger, Chris Rock and Morgan Freeman.
Written by James Flamberg and John Richard, the film will be produced by
Gail Mutrux ("Donnie Brasco").