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10 make cut for Nicholl Fellowships

Up to five $30,000 awards up for grabs

Ten screenplays have made the final round for the 2003 Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The scripts will be judged by the Nicholl Committee, which may award as many as five $30,000 fellowships.

This year’s finalists, selected from a record 6,048 scripts, include one Aussie entry as well as one from Canada. This year marks the first time Oz has been repped in the final 10; and coupled with Canada’s writer, 2003 is the first year since the program’s 1985 inception in which entries from two countries outside the U.S. made fellowship consideration.

Finalists are “Augmentation,” by Andrea R. Herman; “The Blessed Fellowship,” Michele Hackman; “The Bone Orchard,” Ronson Page; “Courting Destiny,” Bennett M. Cohen; “Linda and Henry,” Tejal K. Desai and Brian C. Wray; “The Nihilist, the Bag and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Launderette,” Brian M. Logan; “Random Thoughts on Self-Destruction,” Ryan M. Smith; “Revival,” Annie Reid; “Season of the Witch,” Bragi F. Schut Jr.; and “Trucker,” James N. Mottern.

The Nicholl Committee is chaired by writer Fay Kanin and comprises 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.

The competition is open to those not having 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.

Fellowship recipients are required to complete a feature-length screenplay during the fellowship year. Mike Rich, a 1998 fellow, wrote “Radio,” scheduled for release this month. His Nicholl entry script, “Finding Forrester,” was made into the feature released in 2000.