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11 Chosen as Nicholl Fellowship Finalists

Film Academy annually gives up to five $30,000 fellowships to screenwriters.

Eleven writers have been selected as finalists for the 24th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

This year’s finalists are:

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, “Abroad”
Jeff Williams, Wake Forest, N.C., “Pure”

The Academy received a record 6,380 script submissions this year.

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 or option.

The Nicholl Committee may award as many as five of the prestigious $30,000 fellowships.

1992 Nicholl fellow Susannah Grant ("Erin Brockovich") chairs the committee this year. Committee members are 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.

Among the 108 recipients of the fellowship since the program’s founding in 1985 are Ehren Kruger, Raymond De Felitta and James Mottern ("Trucker").