Five individuals have been selected as winners of the 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. The Academy is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the global competition which aims to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters. Each winner will receive a $35,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at an awards presentation on Wednesday, November 4, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. For the third consecutive year, the event also will include a live read of selected scenes from the fellows’ winning scripts.
This year’s winners are (listed alphabetically by author):
Elizabeth Chomko, What They Had
Andrew Friedhof, Great Falls
Anthony Grieco, Best Sellers
Sam Regnier, Free Agent
Amy Tofte, Addis Abeka
A total of 7,442 scripts were submitted for this year’s competition. Ten individual screenwriters and two writing teams were chosen as finalists. Their scripts were then read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, who ultimately chose the winners.
The other finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):
Ghazi Albuliwi, Arafat
Jennifer Bailey and Max Lance, Best Funeral Ever
Ryan Covington, The Secrets We Keep
Lynn Esta Goldman, Angel on the Wall
Murat Izmirli, Grimwood
Suzanne Kelman and Susannah Rose Woods, Held
Augustus Rose, Far from Cool
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 writer Robin Swicord, and marketing executive Buffy Shutt serves as vice chair. The other members of the committee are writers Tina Gordon Chism, Naomi Foner, Eric Roth, Kirsten Smith, Dana Stevens and Tyger Williams; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographer John Bailey; executive Marcus Hu; producers Stephanie Allain, Albert Berger, Julia Chasman, Julie Lynn and Peter Samuelson; and agent Ron Mardigian.
Since 1986, 142 fellowships have been awarded, and in 2015 several past fellows added to their feature film and television credits:
- Nikole Beckwith directed Stockholm, Pennsylvania, from her Nicholl-winning script, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
- Robert Edwards wrote and directed When I Live My Life Over Again, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
- Patrick Gilfillan wrote Lila & Eve, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
- Kurt Kuenne edited and co-wrote the documentary Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard around the World, which premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival.
- Alfredo Botello was a co-writer of Hollywood Adventures, which opened as the number-one film in China in June.
- Rebecca Sonnenshine is a writer and supervising producer on The Vampire Diaries.
- Annmarie Morais is a writer and story editor on the series Killjoys.
- Andrew Marlowe is the creator and was executive producer, and Terri Miller was a writer and executive producer on Castle.