Academy Names Seven Writers Nicholl Fellowship Winners

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has named seven writers as winners of the 26th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.

Each writer (or writing team) will receive a $30,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at a gala dinner in Beverly Hills on Nov. 3.

The winners are Chris Bessounian and Tianna Langham of Los Angeles for Guns and SarisDion Cook, Altus, Okla., Cutter; John MacInnes, L.A., Outside the Wire; Matthew Murphy, Culver City, Ca,, Unicorn; and Abel Vang and Burlee Vang, Fresno, Ca., The Tiger’s Child.

The winners were selected from a record 6,730 scripts submissions. The competition is open to any individual who has 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.

The Nicholl Committee, chaired by producer Gale Anne Hurd, is composed of writers Naomi Foner, Daniel Petrie Jr., Tom Rickman and Dana Stevens; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographers John Bailey and Steven B. Poster; costume designer Vicki Sanchez; executive Bill Mechanic; producers Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro; marketing executive Buffy Shutt; and agent Ronald R. Mardigian.

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.