Disney Fellowships go to 9

The winners of this year’s Walt Disney Studios Writers Fellowship Program have been selected, it was jointly announced by Disney Television and Writers Guild of America West officials.

The 1997-98 Television and Theatrical Fellows include Jeff Bentancourt, Kim Collier, Dawn Comer, Maureen Driscoll, Frederic Larreur, Erica Montolfo, Scott Murphy, Dahlia Welsh and Dahlia Wilde. The nine writers represent the program’s ninth class.

Each writer receives a $33,000 stipend the first year and $55,000 if Disney picks up the second year. In addition, the fellows receive coaching from experienced scribes, access to studio execs and opportunities to feed projects into development. WGAW officials say the program is affirmative-action driven.

“Walt Disney Studios is proud to be able to continue its support of this worthwhile project,” said David Neuman, prexy of Walt Disney Network Television. “We believe in nurturing talent in all areas, and the writers that have emerged from the fellowship program have exceeded our highest expectations.”

WGAW prez Daniel Petrie Jr. said, “The program has a proven track record and has provided direct access to employment opportunities for writers from diverse backgrounds.”

Past Disney fellows include Tim Doyle, exec producer of ABC’s “Ellen”; Jacque Edmonds, co-exec producer of Fox’s “Living Single”; Reggie (Rock) Blythewood, writer of the Spike Lee pic “Get on the Bus”; and Tony Puryear, who co-wrote the feature film “Eraser.”

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