Four individuals and one writing team will receive the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship for screenwriting, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced today.
Each winner, selected out of a record 7,251 submitted scripts, will receive $35,000 with the understanding that they will complete a feature-length screenplay during their fellowship year. The first installment of prizes will be distributed at an awards presentation Nov. 7 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The winners are Frank DeJohn & David Alton Hedges, Santa Ynez, Calif., “Legion”; Patty Jones, Vancouver, “Joe Banks”; Alan Roth, Suffern, N.Y., “Jersey City Story”; Stephanie Shannon, Los Angeles, “Queen of Hearts”; and Barbara Stepansky, Burbank, “Sugar in My Veins.”
For the first time, a live read of selected scenes from the winning scripts will be performed by members of the Academy’s Actors Branch. Also for the first time, one of the winners will receive a grant with which to write and produce a short film that will appear on automaker Lexus’ creative platforms.
The 11 finalists were announced last month. The Academy acquires no rights to the winners’ works and does not involve itself commercially with the scripts.
One hundred and thirty three fellowships have been awarded in the past. Previous winners include Destin Daniel Cretton, a 2010 recipient who wrote and directed “Short Term 12″ from his winning script; Creighton Rothenberger, who co-wrote “Olympus Has Fallen”; and Rebecca Sonnenshine, writer and executive story editor on “The Vampire Diaries.”