“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Stephanie Beatriz, Michael Peña, Lou Diamond Phillips and Taylor Russell performed the scripts from the next generation of Hollywood filmmakers Thursday, at the Academy Nicholl Fellowship Awards.
Five aspiring filmmakers, selected from 7,831 entries, were honored as winners of the 2020 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition, sponsored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The annual awards program, during which portions of the winning works are performed, was held virtually this year. The event was hosted by “Straight Outta Compton” star Aldis Hodge and directed by former Nicholl Fellowship winners Burlee and Abel Vang. It is available to stream online.
Each winner will receive a $35,000 prize, presented with the understanding that the recipients will complete a feature-length screenplay during their fellowship year.
“Over the 35 years of the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting program, we’ve welcomed diverse new talent from all over the world and helped them build a future in our industry,” said Christine Simmons, the Academy’s COO and head of the Office of Representation, Inclusion and Equity, in a statement. “We’re excited to celebrate this year’s new fellows and support them throughout their professional journeys.”
Here are the five 2020 winners and their winning screenplays:
James Acker (Los Angeles, CA), “SadBoi”
Thrown out of the house, an emotionally stunted high schooler must revisit old friends and repair burnt bridges all in the name of finding a place to sleep.
Beth Curry (Los Angeles, CA), “Lemon”
When Lemon’s agoraphobic mother dies suddenly, five-year-old Lemon goes outside for the first time in search of her father. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets “Room.”
Vanar Jaddou (West Bloomfield, MI), “Goodbye, Iraq”
After a failed assassination attempt on President Saddam Hussein, a paranoid ex-soldier and his fiery daughter must brave a nightmarish trek from Iraq to the U.S. while they are hunted by Saddam’s ruthless regime. Inspired by true events.
Kate Marks (Sunnyside, NY), “The Cow of Queens”
When Sonya and her dying father encounter an escaped slaughterhouse cow running for its life on the streets of Queens, they embark on an adventure to save it. Making the most of their last moments together, they find a way to defy death and make peace with the inevitable prognosis.
Jane Therese (Revere, PA), “Sins of My Father”
A young woman in Ireland grapples with the love she has for her father after bringing charges of abuse against him, which shatter the country.