Nicholl Fellowships awarded

AMPAS chooses six up-and-coming screenwriters

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has selected six unknown screenwriters to receive this year's Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. In its 23rd year, the fellowship awards each writer or writing team $30,000.

The 2008 winners are Jeremy Bandow for "Hive"; Ken Kristensen and Colin Marshall for "Out of Breath"; Jason Micallef for "Butter"; Eric Nazarian for "Giants"; and Lee Patterson for "Snatched."

The honorees will be feted Nov. 13 at a gala dinner that includes a keynote speech by "Out of Sight" screenwriter Scott Frank.

The winners were chosen from a pool of 5,224 eligible scripts submitted by individuals who have 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, an option or any other quid pro quo involving the writer's work. Each new fellow is expected to complete a new feature length script during the following year, though AMPAS retains no rights to the ensuing work.

The final decisions were made by this year's Nicholl Committee, chaired by screenwriter and 1992 Nicholl fellow Susannah Grant ("Erin Brockovich"). Also on the committee: screenwriters Naomi Foner, Dan Petrie Jr., Tom Rickman and Dana Stevens; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographers John Bailey and Steven Poster; executive Bill Mechanic; and producers Gale Anne Hurd, David Nicksay, Peter Samuelson, Robert Shapiro and Buffy Shutt.

More than 100 Nicholl fellowships have been awarded since 1985. Honorees include Allison Anders ("Gas Food Lodging"), Ehren Kruger ("Arlington Road"), Karen Moncrieff ("Blue Car") and Mike Rich ("Finding Forrester").