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The Academy has selected four Americans and a Canadian as winners of the 2021 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition.

The winners in alphabetical order are: Haley Hope Bartels (California, USA) with Pumping Black; Karin de la Peña Collison (California, USA) with Coming Of Age; Byron Hamel (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) with Shade of the Grapefruit Tree; R. J. Daniel Hanna (California, USA) with Shelter Animal; and Laura Kosann (New York, USA), with The Ideal Woman.

The recipients each get a $35,000 prize and mentorship from an Academy member throughout their fellowship year. This week one fellow per day will be featured on the Academy’s YouTube channel.

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.

The Academy received a record number of 8,191 scripts submissions from 89 countries. The first and quarter-final rounds were judged by industry professionals including graduates of the Academy’s diverse reader training workshop. The semi-final round was judged by Academy members across the spectrum of the film industry. Ten individual screenwriters were selected as finalists and their scripts were read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee who voted the winners.

The global competition has awarded 171 fellowships since it began in 1986. Fellows include Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton; Matt Harris, whose fellowship year script The Starling was released by Netflix and stars Melissa McCarthy; and Geeta Malik who wrote and directed India Sweets And Spices which debuted at Tribeca Film Festival – and is sold internationally by Myriad Pictures – and was adapted from her Nicholl-winning script Dinner With Friends.