Six new screenwriters, two of whom wrote collaboratively, have been selected as recipients of the 2003 Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Each received the first installment of the prestigious fellowship's $30,000 prize money at a gala dinner in Beverly Hills on November 20, 2003.
Andrea R. Herman Augmentation
Tejal K. Desai and Brian C. Wray Linda and Henry
Annie Reid Revival
Bragi Schut Jr. Season of the Witch
James N. Mottern Trucker
This year marked the first time that a script written by a team earned its writers a fellowship; collaborative efforts were first allowed into the competition in 2001. The program began in 1985.
Standing (left to right), are committee members Tom Rickman, John Bailey, John Gay, Ron Mardigian, Academy President Frank R. Pierson, Nicholl Committee Chair Fay Kanin, and committee members Susannah Grant and Hal Kanter. Seated (left to right) are Fellows Annie Reid, Andrea Herman, James Mottern, Bragi Schut, Mrs. Gee Nicholl, for whom, along with her late husband Don, the Fellowships are named, and Fellows Brian Wray and Tejal Desai.
A record 6,048 scripts were 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.
These five scripts were selected from a group of ten finalists by the Nicholl Committee, chaired by writer Fay Kanin and comprised of writers John Gay, Susannah Grant, Hal Kanter, Dan Petrie Jr., Tom Rickman and Steven Zaillian, cinematographer John Bailey, editor Mia Goldman, actor Eva Marie Saint, producers David Nicksay and Buffy Shutt, and agent Ronald Mardigian.
Fellowships are awarded with the understanding that the recipients will each complete a feature-length screenplay during the 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.
There are numerous success stories among the previously selected 78 fellows. Most recently, Mike Rich, a 1998 Fellow, wrote "Radio," currently in theaters. His credits include his Nicholl entry script, "Finding Forrester," and "The Rookie." Fellow Karen Moncrieff (1998) directed her Nicholl script, "Blue Car," released earlier this year. Two other competition-winning scripts are currently in production: "Mean Creek," written and directed by Jacob Estes, a 1998 Fellow, and "Island of Brilliance," Dawn O'Leary's 1993 entry. 1999 Fellow TJ Lynch's Nicholl-winning script "The Beginning of Wisdom" is slated to begin production in November. Ehren Kruger (1996) wrote "The Ring" "Reindeer Games," "Scream 3" and "Arlington Road," his Nicholl-winning script. Allison Anders (1986) co-wrote and directed "Things behind the Sun," as well as "Gas Food Lodging." Grant, a 1992 Fellow who joined the Nicholl committee in 2001, received an Academy Award nomination in 2000 for her "Erin Brockovich" screenplay. Her other credits include "Pocahontas,"
"Ever After" and "28 Days." Raymond De Felitta (1991) directed his fellowship-year script, "Two Family House." Andrew W. Marlowe (1992) wrote "Air Force One," "End of Days" and "Hollow Man." Earlier this year, 1986 Fellow Jeffrey Eugenides was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his novel "Middlesex."