Film Academy Selects 5 Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriting Winners

The Film Academy has unveiled its 2023 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting honorees, all of whom will receive a prize of $35,000 as well as mentorship from an Academy mentor throughout the year.

They will also be featured at the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards and live read on April 25 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, where an acting ensemble will read selected scenes from the winners. The Nicholl Fellowships were established in 1985 through the support of Gee Nicholl in memory of her husband Don Nicholl.

Past winners of the Nicholl Fellowship include directors Allison Anders (“Gas Food Lodging”), Destin Daniel Cretton (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”), Susannah Grant (“Catch and Release”) and writers Jeffrey Eugenides (“The Virgin Suicides”) and Ehren Kruger (“Top Gun: Maverick“).

This year’s crop included 5,599 scripts from 83 countries. The committee includes Chair Eric Heisserer (Writers Branch); Aldis Hodge (Actors Branch); Susan Shopmaker (Casting Directors Branch); Marcus Hu and Stephen Ujlaki (Executives Branch); Jason Michael Berman, Julia Chasman and Peter Samuelson (Producers Branch); James Plannette (Production and Technology Branch); Sue Chan (Production Design Branch); and Kruger, Adele Lim, Justin Marks, Zak Penn, Katie Silberman and Dana Stevens (Writers Branch).

The 2023 winners are (listed alphabetically by author):

Brent Delaney (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), “Brownie Mary”
At the height of the AIDS crisis, Mary Jane Rathbun illegally distributes cannabis-infused brownies to heal thousands of gay men in San Francisco and inadvertently becomes the face of the first medical marijuana movement in U.S. history.

Harris McCabe (Los Angeles, CA), “Nat Cady’s Boys”
Two young boys seek bloody vengeance on the posse that hung their outlaw father in 1882 Wyoming.

J. Miller (Burbank, CA), “Slugger”
Abandoned by her mother and coached by her unloving father, a high school baseball prodigy with a hot temper and thunderous bat must confront old-school coaches, jealous teammates, injuries and her own sexual identity on an inspirational quest to be the first woman to play in the majors.

c. Craig Patterson (Los Angeles, CA), “Tah”
The black sheep of the family comes back home to live with the most difficult matriarch in New Orleans.

Kayla Sun (Los Angeles, CA), “Boy, Girl, Fig”
Aden was born with a rare condition where he becomes invisible to people who love him. He struggles when he falls in love with his childhood best friend.


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